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Andrew Bynum Could Miss 76ers’ Season Opener

Andrew Bynum could be sidelined for the Philadelphia 76ers‘ season-opener next week, as he continues to battle discomfort in his right knee.

Bynum was scheduled to return to practice Wednesday after a three-week layoff due to a bone bruise he suffered during an offseason workout, which caused him to miss the entire preseason.  Instead, the center received slaps on the back, while watching from the sidelines as his teammates worked out.

Bynum said of the injury: “I went up and under, and I didn’t feel pops or anything like that,” he said. “It kind of buckled, and from that point we have been cautious.”

Added general manager Tony DiLeo. “He’s a big investment for our team. We want to be cautious.”

The Sixers received Bynum and Jason Richardson as part of a blockbuster four-team trade this summer. The Lakers acquired Dwight Howard, Earl Clark and Chris Duhon, while the Nuggets received former Sixer Andre Iguodala. Orlando got Moe Harkless, Nikola Vucevic, Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Christian Eyenga, Josh McRoberts and protected first-round picks from each team, and a second-round pick from Denver.

Bynum was scheduled to receive a Synvisc injection on Monday, which is a natural substance used in the treatment of osteoarthritis as a lubricant and cushioning aid for joints. Following the injection and a couple of days of rest he was scheduled to work his way back into the usual routine with low-impact exercises.

“We just have to talk to Andrew every day and see how he’s feeling,” DiLeo said. “When he is pain free, that’s when he will start basketball activities.”

Bynum is coming off his best NBA season, averaging 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.93 blocks a game.  He made his first All-Star team last season, starting for the West.  He was the third-leading rebounder and 20th-leading scorer in the NBA.

Even though Bynum has had problems with his knees in the past, he says the he feels no pain in the right knee when he walks, but just during hard physical activity. He reassured everyone that he will be just fine.

“We want to avoid any type of setback,” he said. “I will be evaluated and am being reevaluated, and I will be all right.”

Sixers head coach Doug Collins is unsure if Bynum will be available for the home opener.

“A lot of that is going to be how he responds to increased activity,” Collins said. “I know how important the home opener is, but we’re not going to do anything silly and have another setback where it costs you and now you have to miss those kinds of games.”

The Sixers have gone 6-1 for during preseason without Bynum. If Bynum is unable play in the opener they will turn to Spencer Hawes and Kwame Brown to fill the presence in the middle.

Collins said they are good enough to win without Bynum, but when he returns he will add another element to the team.


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