The Philadelphia 76ers knew exactly what they were doing when they traded for Andrew Bynum. Team management understood that, in their haste to get rid of Andre Iguodala, they were picking up a supremely talented seven-footer who was coming off his best season ever – but who had also been plagued by injury problems throughout his entire career. They bet on him staying healthy all last year as being the start of a trend, not an anomaly.
For now, at least, it looks as though they bet wrong. As reported by ESPN:
Bynum wanted so much more out of the day he expected to practice for the first time with his new team. Bynum remained sidelined with right knee pain and is a long shot to play in the Oct. 31 opener.
His debut is on hold and no one knows when Bynum will return. He will continue to be held out of all basketball activity until he is pain free from a bone bruise he suffered during an offseason workout. The Sixers had pegged Wednesday as their franchise player's potential return date after a three-week layoff that cost him the entire preseason slate. Instead, Bynum was on the sidelines while the rest of the Sixers practiced and scrimmaged.
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It’s a sight that Los Angeles Lakers fans became all too used to over the past seven years. In large part, that -- and not his at times grating attitude -- is what bought him a first class ticket out of town.
All that said, the Sixers remain optimistic. They believe that, once Bynum heals, he will be a valuable asset for their club.
"Of course, everyone would like to see him out there," said general manager Tony DiLeo (via the Philadelphia Daily News). "We're just going to do what's in the best interests of Andrew and what's in the best interests of the team."
"He still has some discomfort in his knee," DiLeo said. "We want to be sure . . . We are going to withhold him from basketball-related activities until he is pain-free."
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Bynum expressed a similar sentiment. He didn’t want to rush back too early; he is in this for the long run.
"I think it's better to be cautious. Let it fully heal," Bynum said. "I wouldn't want to play with pain. I think pain and swelling are indications that something's going on.
The Sixers will tip off their 2012-13 NBA campaign on Oct. 31 against the Denver Nuggets.