Andrew Bynum was cleared to return to the Philadelphia 76ers to practice on Dec. 10, but the time table has now changed once again to being “out indefinitely”.
Tony DiLeo, Sixers general manager, made the announcement Saturday that the team no longer has a timeline for Bynum’s return to the court.
“Bottom line is Andrew is out indefinitely,” DiLeo said before Saturday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. “There are no timelines; we just have to wait and see how he reacts.”
Bynum has been plagued by bone bruises in both knees since being traded for in the offseason to Philadelphia. Doctors believe that he is dealing with weakening cartilage in both knees and may have done additional damage a couple weeks ago by bowling.
DiLeo admits that the team knew of Bynum’s knee issues, but the team’s risk outlook has changed quite significantly with the latest news.
“His knees now and the MRIs are not the same; it’s a different type (of) situation,” DiLeo said. “At the time of the trade, we had four doctors look at his MRI; we knew it was a calculated risk. We also knew we were getting the second-best center in the league, a franchise-type player. We took that risk.”
Bynum has been instructed by the team to avoid any activity that could cause his knees more stress. He is currently going through a low-impact rehab with the hopes that the rest will heal the cartilage. DiLeo said the team is paying close attention to the rehab and that they are consulting experts around the world in hopes to a reasonable return.
“(The bowling injury) is an unfortunate situation; when the cartilage is in a weakened state anything can happen,” DiLeo said. “Basically, you can’t do anything that is going to jeopardize any kind of rehab.”
Last week, Bynum said that there are no surgical procedures that would help his knees, but time is the only thing that would help.
Bynum is currently in the last year of his contract, but the Sixers had hoped by making the trade for him they could sign him to long-term contract next summer. The Sixers traded away All-Star Andre Iguodala, Moe Harkless and Nikola Vucevic and a future first-round pick to get Bynum and guard Jason Richarson.
DiLeo said the team is hopeful that Bynum will heal and suit up for the Sixers this year, but have already started to consider other options.
“We have plans for the future if he is not back with us but we want to plan on him being here long-term,” he said.
Those plans have yet to be seen, but are quickly approaching with Bynum’s continual setbacks.