The 25-year-old Bynum, who is rehabbing from bone bruises in both knees, took part in a five-on-zero drill last week. The drill was the first time he had been able to be involved in any practice since Philly traded for him last summer.
“I played in LA with a bit of swelling, but it wasn’t this bad,” Bynum said. “I didn’t really feel the pain when I was playing, but now it’s like really stiff and a lot of pain. Just doing stuff, not even full five-on-five stuff. I played in one scrimmage and it’s a 4- to 5-day setback.”
Bynum had been confident all season long that rest and rehabilitation would allow him to make it back to the court this season.
“It’s getting late. I don’t know [about playing this season],” Bynum said. “I don’t want to play in pain. … I’m 25, it’s my life.”
When Bynum was asked if surgery was an option, he said that there were no surgical procedures possible that could help him return to the 76ers before the season ends.
The 76ers could use Bynum’s presence because they are currently 22-34 and in last place in the Eastern Conference with 26 games remaining. They have dropped their last seven games.
But 76ers coach Doug Collins said Thursday after seeing Bynum workout, that the player was still in no condition to return.
“I know it’s tough on him, he wants to play,” Collins said. “We traded for him to come in here and play, and he hasn’t been able to and that’s hard. Hard on him and hard on everyone, and so I feel badly.”
Before being traded to the 76ers last summer, Bynum played in 60 of 66 games with the Los Angeles Lakers last season. He had a surgical procedure in September in Germany to strengthen his knees. During the procedure, doctors discovered a bone bruise in his right knee. While recovering, two months later Bynum tweaked his left knee while bowling friends, and doctors discovered a bone bruise in that knee as well.
Bynum could potentially lose millions of dollars if he is unable to return to the court this season. He is currently making $16.9 million this season and will become a free agent in July.
“I think being healthy is more important than everything else,” he said. “If I am healthy, I’ll get a deal. I have to be able to play and I need to get to the point with my body where I’m able to play, however long that takes.”