When last we heard from Andrew Bynum here on BDL, the 25-year-old center — who has yet to play a second for the Philadelphia 76ers since coming to the City of Brotherly Love this offseason due to knee injuries — he was bravely fighting through anti-gravity treadmill breakdowns en route to a planned post-All-Star-break return. Well, we're now officially post-All-Star-break, and while the big man was at Sixers practice on Tuesday, he did not participate in Sixers practice on Tuesday, and suggested that his return — and you may want to sit down for this, lest the shock cause you to faint and send you crashing to the floor — might take a bit longer than he initially anticipated.
Continuing his ongoing quest to find the demonstrative hairstyles possible — or, as my esteemed editor Kelly Dwyer suggested, probably just appearing in the middle of having his hair braided, a look he's been rocking in recent weeks and displayed fully during Philly's Monday night workout — Bynum addressed the media after Tuesday's practice. While looking remarkably like circa-2001 R. Kelly, he proclaimed himself a week or two away from returning to practice and offered Philadelphians a solemn vow to play for the struggling 22-29 Sixers. Y'know, some day.
From NJ.com's Jordan Raanan:
Even though the skepticism surrounding the return date of Bynum increases by the day, the key figures in the drama remain confident as February quickly disappears that it will eventually happen. They believe that Andrew Bynum, bad knees and all, will be seen in a Sixers jersey at some point before this so far disappointing season ends.
"I'll definitely be back sometime this year," Bynum said while sporting an interesting new hairdo Tuesday following an 80-minute workout at PCOM.
The injured big man couldn't pinpoint an exact date. He believes playing 1-on-1 and 2-on-2 is "around the corner," participating in a full practice is maybe a week or two away. Still, it's looking like the return date has been pushed back into March, best-case scenario. But at least there is hope.
And because there is hope, the plan is for Bynum, Philly's medical staff and the Sixers to keep doing what they're doing, even if it's frustrating for all parties involved, according to Philly.com:
Bynum said he won't rush to get back in the lineup, even though his team is struggling. "I'm focused on getting back and being right versus trying to rush," he said.
[...] fans have not been pleased with Bynum's inability to get healthy, but the big man said that fans can't be more frustrated than he is about his current situation.
"I don't think anyone's more upset than myself," he said. "I have the most to lose by not playing and I want to get back. And I could really care less. People are going to support me when I'm doing well and they're going to talk when I'm doing poor and not playing. That's just the business that I'm in and you accept that as an athlete and keep going."
Bynum believes the fans are justified in their disappointment, however.
"They want to win. I want to win. So it's going to be frustrating, but no fan can tell you that they're more frustrated than I am. They don't play and, uh, I do."
Well, not in like nine months, actually, but generally speaking, I get what you're saying. It must be particularly frustrating because, as Bynum told reporters, as he continues to work and rehab, his pain isn't going away; instead, he's "more tolerating" it, and that constant knee pain might just be "something I'll just have to get used to."
That can't be an especially fun or exciting feeling to have at age 25 facing an offseason in which you were previously considered likely to receive multiple long-term max-level contract offers, only to watch your prospective value dip with each passing day and dicey medical checkup. It seems like enough to make a man want to either act out in some small way that makes him feel good, something that he can control exactly the way he wants to, even if it seems provocative to others. I only hope Bynum can find a way to do that.
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