Season-ending surgery a possibilty for Bynum

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The news is half good on 76ers center Andrew Bynum's sore knees, which have kept him from playing this season. (Michael Perez/AP file photo)

The 76ers and center Andrew Bynum are considering arthroscopic surgery on the player’s right knee in order to clean out loose cartilage, a procedure that would likely end the season for the center for whom they traded so many young assets, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

Bynum suffered a setback in the form of swelling in his right knee following his participation in a five-on-five scrimmage, first reported in the Inquirer, last Friday. While the Sixers have been unable to practice recently due to the schedule, Bynum would not have been able to participate due to the swelling in his knee, which was also first reported by the Inquirer on Friday.

Bynum said his left knee “feels good.”

Following practice at Philadelphia College of Medicine on Friday, Bynum acknowledged that his season might in fact be over.

“Now it’s getting a little late, so I really don’t know,” Bynum said when asked if he were considering sitting out the final two months of the 76ers season. “I played in one scrimmage and [I have] a four- to five-day setback,” Bynum said of his latest setback. Bynum added that he is “just getting treatment and trying to push the fluid out” of his knee.

I still think I can play,” Bynum said, “but like I said, the season is short.”

Before the Sixers (22-34) dropped their seventh game in a row the night before at Chicago, Sixers coach Doug Collins said that he had not seen Bynum do anything since last Friday’s scrimmage.

On Friday, Collins elaborated.

“During this period of time, he’s not made any progress, and that’s obviously very concerning,” Collins said. “His concern that he was moving forward and he got to a point with the swelling where he’s making no progress.”

Bynum has said that he is not aware of a surgical procedure to remedy his condition,

Bynum, whom the Sixers acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers in a 12-player deal, had serious knee issues with the Lakers, requiring surgery on his left one in 2008 for a dislocated kneecap and on his right one in 2010 because of torn cartilage. He played every regular-season game only once in his seven seasons with them.

Bynum, who is earning more than $16 million this season, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Sixers hold his “Larry Bird” rights and therefore can pay him more than any other team. However, the Sixers must seriously consider the ramifications of re-signing a player with a history of knee problems.

In order to acquire Bynum last summer, the Sixers, who also acquired injured shooting guard Jason Richardson in the trade, dealt Andre Iguodala to Denver, and Maurice Harkless, Nik Vucevic and a conditional first-round draft pick to Orlando.

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