CLEVELAND: The year away from basketball changed Andrew Bynum. He already admitted a few weeks ago it has made him work harder, now he’s conceding it has made him a different player.
The explosiveness he once enjoyed with the Los Angeles Lakers is gone, and there’s a good chance no amount of rehab will bring it back.
“I don’t think it’s going to come back,” he said Monday prior to the Cavs’ game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. “It makes you have to rely more on footwork and skills vs. athleticism.”
Bynum was expected to play in both the first and second half against the Timberwolves, the next step in his lengthy rehab process. Until now, Bynum has been limited to one appearance in games. When he subbed out, he was done for the night.
As of now, it takes him a couple of days to recover from games, which is why he isn’t likely to appear in both nights of a back-to-back anytime soon. Coach Mike Brown wouldn’t commit to that for the entire season, but it’s clear the Cavs are going slow with Bynum.
“I missed the entire year last year and that’s for a reason,” he said. “I have skill, I have talent. I just need to get my timing back.”
His impressive spin move down the lane Friday at Charlotte is a prime example. Bynum still had the ability to get to the basket, but he was unable to finish.
Bynum said he’s still having “little sharp pains here and there, but nothing too bad.” He has played more than 65 games just once in his career, so it’s unrealistic to think he’s knee issues are completely over. Whether or not he can maintain them enough to remain on the court most of this season remains to be seen.
“Only time will tell,” he said.