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.
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?