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Andrew Bynum’s Debut Pushed Back To January

Philadelphia 76ers center Andrew Bynum, acquired in a blockbuster offseason deal, will miss at least five more weeks because of a bone bruise in his right knee and may not play in a game until early January.

When Bynum was hurt in mid-September, the team initially hoped its newly acquired star would be ready for the season opener Oct. 31. Late last month, though, the Sixers said he was out indefinitely.

Philadelphia said Monday that the new goal was for Bynum to resume ”normal basketball activity” around Dec. 10. He would then need 1-4 weeks of conditioning and practice before he can play in his first game for the 76ers.

Bynum was allowed to start low-impact exercise after an MRI last week.

The Sixers acquired Bynum from the Lakers in a four-team deal that saw them ship Andre Iguodala to Denver, but he has yet to even practice with them this season.

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 said before the season: “A lot of that is going to be how he responds to increased activity. 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.”

Spencer Hawes and Kwame Brown have filled in at center .

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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