There were so many new faces in the gym at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine for Friday’s Sixers’ media day that it was a good thing the players had their names on the backs of their uniforms.
Tony Wroten, Darius Morris, James Anderson, Rodney Williams, Vander Blue, Tim Ohlbrecht, Hollis Thompson … where did all those guys come from?
But wearing No. 23 was a familiar, though unexpected, face walking around the gym, which may be the only chance he has to touch the hardwood for another month or so.
Jason Richardson, the remaining piece of the deal that brought Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia, turned up for media day despite the fact that he probably will not play again until January at the earliest.
Recovering from cartilage-graft surgery to repair the quarter-sized hole behind his knee that allowed him to play just 33 games last year, Richardson said he hasn’t been able to run yet. The extent of his exercise has been on a stationary bike, the weight room, or in a swimming pool where the impact on his legs is minimal. As a result, the 12-year veteran added some more muscle to his frame.
The comeback is a slow process, Richardson said, because he opted for the cartilage transplant instead of the ever-popular microfracture surgery. Microfracture surgery is a short-term fix and many players who get it have to undergo it again in a few years. Though the recovery takes longer for the transplant, at least Richardson will be able to walk when he’s older.
“We are pushing late January, early February, hopefully to see how mentally I’m doing and how physically I’m doing,” Richardson said. “But right now, we are in a slow process.”
There’s no rush. The Sixers have time and chances are Richardson won’t be needed for a late-season playoff push. With an overhauled roster and the plans for a rebuilding year, Richardson can take his time. Besides, Richardson has another year left on his deal. With $6.2 million owed to him this season, Richardson has a player option for next year at $6.6 million.
“I’m just taking my time right now and taking a slow approach to it,” Richardson said.