At the end of Tuesday’s practice, when the curtain rose and the gathered media was allowed to peer down on the players, there was Andrew Bynum with ball in hands – and sleeves on knees – in his practice shorts and shirt. Rarely is there a Bynum sighting on the floor at PCOM, but there he was yesterday a day after speaking with the media and saying his originally injured right knee was feeling strong while his left was still giving him constant pain.
“He’s going to see the doctor on the 20th and hopefully ramp up his activity,” said coach Doug Collins. “If not maybe another month or whatever. The fact that the one knee is feeling great, yeah that’s exciting. December 20th it sure would be nice to see him ramp up his activity. He’s been out here most of the time when we go through stuff. We’re constantly evolving our team. I’m still figuring us out in terms of what is good for our team. I put in an offense yesterday during shootaround that I ran in Detroit for Grant Hill for Jrue (Holiday) and Evan (Turner) to have the ball in certain situations and then if something doesn’t happen that we can play out of it.”
Collins then went on about the various ways he’s trying to get Holiday and Turner and his other players better opportunities to score. The theme of it all was this: Without Bynum it is a lot more difficult than it would have been if he were playing.
Collins and the players have to move on without Bynum, for they, nor anybody else including Bynum, have no idea when or if the 7-footer will return. Monday’s meeting with Bynum again seemed to leave more questions than answers. For the first time Bynum mentioned arthritis. He also said that it is a possibility that he won’t return this season, though he expects to. The December 20th meeting with doctors may include an MRI on one or both knees, but he isn’t sure. He also again said that if this was the NBA Finals “I’d be out there helping my team win.”
Getting answers hasn’t been easy and here’s why. Every day at practice we are asked by PR director Mike Preston which players we would like to speak with. Every day we ask for Bynum – among others – and every day Preston asks Bynum if he would like to talk. You can tell by the infrequent Bynum quotes how often he says yes.
December 20th will be a big day and we should know something more definitive the following day or days. Until then, it’s status quo.