The excitement in Philadelphia was curtailed somewhat with news of Andrew Bynum’s latest injury. The 76ers’ newly acquired center was diagnosed with a bone bruise on his right knee, which means he will be sidelined for three weeks and won’t be able to participate in basketball activities for most of training camp.
Bynum, who turns 24 on Oct. 27, comes to Philly with loads of expectations. As soon as he arrived on the Sixers’ team facility, he shouldered the load as the franchise player and the foundation of Doug Collins’ young squad. With all due respect to Andre Iguodala, who is a solid player but not a franchise-changer, Bynum is the first legit superstar the Sixers have had since Allen Iverson and the team’s first dominant big man since Moses Malone.
The Sixers announced Monday they would shut down their new franchise All-Star for 21 days as a precaution after he received knee treatment in Germany.
According to NBA TV’s Dee Lynam, Bynum was working out and felt one of the knees didn’t fee right, and that’s when the bone bruise was discovered. Bynum downplayed the setback.
“The treatment [in Germany] went well. I think it’s more of a precautionary thing with the team. They kinda just want me to be sidelined and let the Orthokine do it’s magic,” the 7-footer told Lynam on the Sixers’ media day session. “I’m gonna be out but I’m gonna do everything that I can do impact-wise. Later on we should be crack it up and everything should be fine.”
Bynum had injections of plasma-rich platelets, a procedure called Orthokine, that supposedly stimulate healing in arthritis-affected areas in both of his knees. The Sixers wanted to give him enough time to have the treatments take hold in the knee. Bynum said the bone bruise was unrelated to the knee treatments. The procedure was similar to the treatment Kobe Bryant and Alex Rodriguez underwent.
The injury throws an unwanted wrinkle into the start of coach Collins’ third season. Collins led the Sixers to the playoffs each of the last two seasons and was rewarded Monday when the team picked up the option on his contract for the 2013-14 season.
“I will be participating in as much as I can. I’m gonna be with the team during the walk-throughs, and learning the offense,” said Bynum, who spent the first seven years of his NBA career with the L.A. Lakers. He averaged career highs in points (18.7) and rebounds (11.8) last season.
“Chemistry is big,” Bynum said. “Everybody has a role and everybody has to play together. I definitely want to be with those guys.”
Bynum said this current knee ailment isn’t as bad as the issues that have dogged him in the past. He reported no swelling in his knees. Bynum said doctors advised he have the knee treatment closer to the season for maximum effectiveness. Bynum said he had the injections during the third week in September. He will continue to participate in low-impact conditioning drills.
The Sixers open the regular season Oct. 31. Bynum would have about a week between his scheduled return and the opener.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.