The news continues to become encouraging.
In his weekly update, Sixers injured center Andrew Bynum said he has picked up his workouts ever so much and even dunked a basketball during Sunday’s session. For a 7-footer, that doesn’t sound like a big deal. However, the 300 pounds that come crashing back to earth handled the pounding.
According to Bynum, he feels as if he is slightly ahead of schedule with his rehab and is targeting a return just after the All-Star break.
“I’m a little ahead, I think,” Bynum said. “Before I started getting a little better I had a lot of pain. The pain is subsiding a bit [after workouts].”
Despite the upbeat update, Bynum still has plenty of work to do. He has yet to move laterally, cut or do defensive stance moves. Aside from running or the dunk from Sunday, he also hasn’t done much jumping.
Regardless, there is a possibility that Bynum could practice -- with contact -- by the end of the week. He said he started running sprints this week and plans on sliding side to side next.
“I still haven’t done slides yet, but I dunked yesterday. That’s good. I can still do that,” Bynum said.
Of course, the most difficult part for Bynum could be ingratiating himself back into the team’s plans. Considering that the Sixers have played all season without him, Bynum could be a shock to the system when he hits the court.
Still, assistant coach Michael Curry said on Sunday that the Sixers had practiced some plays to anticipate Bynum’s arrival and coach Doug Collins said the big fella is beginning to feel like he’s one of the guys.
“The most important thing is that he’s encouraged,” Collins said before Monday’s game against Memphis. “If you’re hurt, you don’t always feel like you are apart of the team. That’s especially the case when you get traded for. So he’s starting to be out there with his teammates more.”
Schedule-wise, the Sixers head into the All-Star break after the game in Milwaukee on Feb. 13. After a week off, the Sixers return to action on Feb. 20 in Minnesota. Some have suggested that Bynum could play in Milwaukee, take the week to recover and return to a full schedule a week later. When asked about that, Bynum said he doesn’t care when he comes back as long as he gets time on the practice floor.
Nevertheless, the questions now are about when the Sixers’ star can play as opposed to what is ailing his knees.