Talk turns to Andrew Bynum as return seems to be nearing

Talk turns to Andrew Bynum as his return seems to be nearing. (Matt Slocum/AP file photo)

“Exciting. Exciting.” 

Those were the words after Sunday’s 76ers practice at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine from associate head coach Michael Curry. He wasn’t talking about the 97-80 pasting the team put on the visiting New York Knicks on Saturday night, but rather about the prospect of Andrew Bynum returning to the team. Bynum ran as hard as any media has seen him so far on the anti gravity treadmill Sunday, and Friday he was alone on the court practicing some hard low-post spin moves, making hard plants and turns on each of his fragile knees. A return to the court and his debut with the Sixers seems to be a real hope right now. Bynum has stated his hope is to come back sometime around the mid-February All-Star break. 

“We were talking about Andrew (Saturday) night where people have to understand that you totally change the personnel that you’ve got to play when he’s on the court and you totally change how you are going to have to guard. You’re not going to trap Jrue (Holiday) if Andrew is in the pick and roll and he (Bynum) rolls you can’t just have a man pick him up. 

“It’s encouraging as Andrew is doing more and more work. Just watching when Jrue has struggled or Evan (Turner) has struggled, just watching how teams have defended them. And they’re doing exactly what you should do. But when you have a great player or a big guy who demands a lot of attention around that basket you have to defend totally different.” 

Curry, filling in for Doug Collins, who is battling a sinus infection, then went on to talk about how the Sixers’ defense on Saturday was geared towards Carmelo Anthony and how it changed with the personnel surrounding him. 

“That’s what great players do and that’s how teams have to adjust to them,” Curry said. “That’s what we’re hoping when Andrew is healthy and ready to play that he can do with us and I think it will make the game easier for Evan and Jrue. It’s exciting. You deal a lot to get him. When he’s healthy and on the court, he’s one heck of a player. The fact that he’s starting to do some things in shootaround, his level of activity has picked up and he’s here working three hours or so, you’re going to get excited and you’re also going to start to get ready to do things so that when he comes we’re ready to move into the next phase of what kind of sets we’re going to run and what personnel we want on the court with him.”