Andrew Bynum’s debut with the Philadelphia 76ers has been pushed back more times than the start of the NHL season. Yet to even practice this season, the injured All-Star vowed to return from the bone bruises that have sidelined him.
“I’m confident I’ll be on the court this season,” he said Friday night.
When? Well, no one from Bynum to his doctor seem to know, even after an encouraging exam Thursday that will let the 7-foot center being a six-step rehabilitation process. Bynum can start low-impact exercises like riding a stationary bike as the first step of his rehab.
There is no date for a return. The All-Star center was acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers in a four-team trade before the season.
“The bone bruises are healed and the swelling is gone, so those two things are great,” Bynum said. “We’re just waiting for mechanical issues to be resolved, and that’s going to take anywhere from a month to two. I have no idea, but we’re going to work toward grinding it out.”
Bynum said his right knee feels fine and there’s still some pain in his left knee.
The 25-year-old center is in the final year of his contract and could sign a five-year deal worth more than $100 million in the offseason, if he’s healthy. But his uncertain status could be costing the All-Star millions.
“The doctors are taking their time because I want to play for another 10, 12 years, and not two,” Bynum said. “So I think the biggest thing here is to take our time and get it done right.”
Bynum announced in May, while still a member of the Lakers, that he was going to Germany in September for the Orthokine blood-spinning treatment in his knees that other professional athletes have sought. The Sixers announced before training camp that he needed to delay his return to allow the effects of the treatment to work. The exam showed Bynum’s weakened cartilage hasn’t gotten worse. Bynum said the potential of surgery is off the table.
Sixers general manger Tony DiLeo said the best-case scenario all depended on how Bynum’s knees reacted to the increased exercise.
“This is good news,” DiLeo said. “We can move ahead to the next phase of his rehab. This isn’t something where the doctor says he has to rest.”
Raptors’ rookie has break
Toronto Raptors rookie Jonas Valanciunas broke his right ring finger in the first quarter Friday night against Orlando.
Valanciunas grabbed his hand after battling for a loose ball under the Magic basket midway through the quarter. He was slow to get back on defense, and left the court wincing in pain. Valanciunas was taken for X-rays, which revealed the fracture.