Bynum has 'pain,' but doesn't feel it's a setback

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Bynum has 'pain,' but doesn't feel it's a setback

We’re 50 games into the NBA season and there is still no sign of the real Philadelphia 76ers. According to Andrew Bynum in his weekly Monday press briefing, there really is no target date for when we will get a look at the real version of the Sixers.

Bynum spoke again before Monday night’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Wells Fargo Center and shed no new insight for the only two questions that folks want to know about.

There are:

When are you going to practice?

When are you going to play?

The answer to both, according to Bynum, is he doesn’t know.

“I’m not sure,” Bynum said when asked if he was going to play in a game by the end of February. “We’ll have to see if I had a setback or not. Right now, things are going well. I’m losing weight and staying on the court for as long as I can, so that’s good.”

Things are progressing for Bynum in his basketball-related activities. He is able to run all out on the basketball court with the full brunt of his 305 pounds crashing onto the floor. He can do defensive slides and he can make cuts. He also can shoot the ball from every spot on the floor, including in the paint where he can jump into the air and cram it through the rim.

Those are all good things.

However, Bynum has neither engaged in a full-contact practice nor worked out with another player during his shooting or low-post drills. He hasn’t been pushed under the basket or felt the sting of an elbow while battling for a rebound.

That’s not so good.

In fact, Bynum said he slowed down his workouts ever-so slightly because of something he called, “pain” in his left knee. No, there was no accompanying swelling with the pain and he wasn’t really sure if it was something he would call a setback. It could be, Bynum allowed, routine post-workout soreness given that he feels no significant pain or anything to sway him from working out the next day.

Once again, Bynum doesn’t know the answer.

“I worked out for two days on the court and I had a lot of pain, so I backed off a little bit today,” Bynum explained. “I’ll be back on the court tomorrow and we’ll progress from there.”

For now, the pain, which Bynum described as a “tingling,” he is experiencing is a mystery.

“I don’t know if it’s normal soreness or if I can play with it or what it is,” Bynum said. “It’s not anything that I haven’t felt, so it’s not new. It continues to go away over time, so that’s all good stuff.”

So, about that return, Andrew … when is it going to be?

“When I’m on the court, I’ll be ready,” Bynum said. “I’m trying as hard as I can. It would suck to play through pain, but sometimes you have to.”

The bottom line is Bynum is not ready to play yet. But when that day comes -- whenever it is -- Bynum says he’ll be ready.

After Game No. 50 against the Clippers on Monday night, the Sixers face the Bucks on Wednesday night before heading off to the All-Star break. A week from Wednesday, the Sixers open the second half with Game No. 52 in Minnesota.

Where will Bynum be then?

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich blasts President Trump

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich blasts President Trump

CLEVELAND — Gregg Popovich would bench President Donald Trump.

San Antonio's longtime coach, who has been highly critical of Trump in the past, went on a lengthy rant about the new president on Saturday night, calling him a bully and saying he hopes he can change while in office.

While meeting with reporters before the Spurs played the NBA champion Cavaliers, Popovich didn't hold back in offering his disdain for Trump and members of his administration.

Popovich initially was asked about his views on the women's marches in Washington and around the world before he unloaded on Trump.

"Their message is obvious," the five-time champion coach said of the protesters. "Our president comes in with the lowest (approval) rating of anybody whoever came into the office. And there's a majority of people out there, since Hillary (Clinton) won the popular vote, that don't buy his act. And I just wish that he was more -- had the ability to be more -- mature enough to do something that really is inclusive rather than just talking and saying, `I'm going to include everybody.'

"He could talk to the groups that he disrespected and maligned during the primary and really make somebody believe it. But so far, we've got (to) a point where you really can't believe anything that comes out of his mouth. You really can't."

As he said following Trump's election in November, Popovich wants Trump to succeed but believes he will do so only if he changes.

Popovich pointed out that Trump visited CIA headquarters on his first official day in office, but used the occasion to talk about himself.

"Instead of honoring the 117 people behind him where he was speaking, he talked about the size of the crowd," Popovich said. "That's worrisome. I'd just feel better if somebody was in that position that showed the maturity and psychological and emotional level of somebody that was his age. It's dangerous and it doesn't do us any good. I hope he does a great job, but there's a difference between respecting the office of the presidency and who occupies it.

"And that respect has to be earned."

Popovich was also critical of those who don't hold Trump accountable for his words.

"It's hard to be respectful of someone when we all have kids and we're watching him be misogynistic and xenophobic and racist and make fun of handicapped people. And what really bothers me are the people around him: the Sean Spicers, the Kellyanne Conways, the Reince Priebuses that know who he is and actually have the cynical approach and disingenuous attitude to really defend him and try to make it look like he didn't say what he said.

"And so when he's mad at the media for them reporting what he said, that just boggles my mind."

Popovich said others would have been punished for some of the things Trump has said in the past, including when he mocked a reporter with a disability.

"If our children would've said it, we would have grounded him for six months," he said. "Without a doubt. But we ignore all that because, because why? That says something about all of us and that's what's dangerous, or that's what scares the hell out of me to this day. It makes me uneasy."

Popovich concluded his rant about Trump by decrying his inability to handle media criticism.

"It does boggle the mind how somebody can be so thin skinned," he said. "It's all obvious, it's about him. If anything affects him, if it's `Saturday Night Live' or `Hamilton,' or she got 3 more million votes than you. `They're illegal.' It doesn't matter what it is, there's a pattern there. And that's dangerous. I'd like to have someone with gravitas, but he got there through the electoral college, which is part of our system, and I hope he does some good things.

"There was a young lady on today who said, `I just wished he had gone up there and said something like, and I know I said certain things, or you know I would really like to bring the people who don't feel, or I know some of you are scared.' But he can't do that because bullies don't do that. That's why."

Sixers' Chasson Randle trying to make a difference for troubled youth

Sixers' Chasson Randle trying to make a difference for troubled youth

Chasson Randle can’t help but think what more he could have done to help. He was barely a teenager at the time, but years later he still racks his mind for something — anything — that would have redirected them to the right path.

There was the friend who could dunk by the time he was in seventh grade, the real hyped talent always head and shoulders above the rest. He got caught up in the wrong crowd, left town and people have since lost track of him.

Then there was the other friend who was undersized but had the speed that gave him a chance to be special on the court. He, too, fell in with the wrong people. He was shot and killed.

“Things like that happen that I wish I could take back. What could I say to my friends back then that could have kept us all in the circle?” Randle said. “We’re talking sixth, seventh, eighth grade. These guys, I hate to say it, got involved in the wrong stuff early. I’m the type of guy who tries to lead by example when I can. We had them around our families, gave them rides to tournaments. We would try to talk about the right things, but it’s the things when you’re not around. What are those people saying to you? What are you doing in those moments you aren’t with each other?”

Randle has transformed those nagging questions into a cause. The Sixers' point guard speaks with inmates at the Scott County Juvenile Detention Center in Davenport, Iowa, whenever he returns home to Rock Island, Illinois.

Randle got involved with the center through his eighth grade basketball coach Harlee Miller, who now works there. Miller instilled lessons of respect that stuck with Randle and are apparent through his interactions. Randle greets reporters with a firm handshake and makes it a point to stand up at his locker for interviews. When Randle had an opportunity to echo those values imparted by Miller to others, he embraced it.

“It’s about trying to reach out to the kids and give them some kind of inspiration and positive motivation to do better,” he said.

Randle wasn’t a troublemaker. His neighborhood wasn't one where he had to escape problems but if someone wanted to find some, as in most settings, they could. Randle emerged as a standout high school basketball player and went on to become Stanford’s all-time leading scorer. He also completed his undergraduate degree ahead of his senior year and began working toward his master’s in psychology, all while pursuing an NBA career.

With those gleaming accomplishments, how could he relate to those at the detention center? When Randle’s friends went astray, he saw firsthand the negative effects of their misguided decisions, from stealing cars to drugs to gangs.

“It’s easy for me (to relate) because I grew up with those type of kids. I played basketball with them," Randle said. "Some of my close friends didn’t make it, they got caught up in it. I had examples in front of me of seeing how things went for people when they went the other way. I didn’t want to be that guy. I’ve seen people go this way before, let me go that way.”

Randle estimates he has made 10 visits to the center. A basketball court on the property provided the perfect setting to make a connection that had a long-lasting impact.

“There was one kid who was in there for getting in trouble in school, he was involved with gang stuff,” Randle said. “He was into basketball so we got to shoot hoops together. The last time I came back (home), I went to the mall and I saw him out. That was pretty cool. He was telling me he appreciated me spending time with him. For me, that’s gratifying.”

Randle's off-the-court demeanor was not lost on the Sixers when they brought him on board for a 10-day contract and re-signed him to a second contract Friday. In addition to stepping in without hesitation and scoring 10 points (including two threes) in his NBA debut, Brett Brown noted the weight Randle's reputation carries.

"He's a four-year Stanford graduate that comes with a very distinct pedigree and intellect and maturity that adds to 'team,'" Brown said. "Albeit new, he really adds to what we're trying to build in relation to the guys that we invite in our program. He's a high character guy."

Randle is achieving his goals. For all his childhood friends who didn’t, he hopes those he meets now can. 

“I wish I could have had more of an impact on my friends,” Randle said. “I feel like it’s my responsibility to try to reach and touch somebody. If I can touch one, then I feel like I’ve done something.”