It looks like 76ers fans are going to have to wait just a little bit longer to see the debut of their 7 foot franchise superstar this season.
Philadelphia has now pushed back the expected return date of Andrew Bynum for another 5-6 weeks due to complications occurring from a bone bruise in his right knee.
The team had originally hoped that he would able to play on October 31st (season opener), but instead ruled on the side of caution.
The new goal is for Bynum to resume normal basketball activity around the 10th of December. He would then need approximately 2-4 weeks of practice and conditioning before he could suit up for the 76ers.
Andrew was acquired back in August as part of a four-team trade that sent Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers and Andre Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets. Since arriving, he has yet to participate in any practices.
”It’s better than when it started, it’s just not quite there yet. It’s not where I want it to be.”
”As far as getting better, I think this is the way I need to handle it. It’s tough. I want to get out there, I want to play. It’s just a roller coaster. Obviously, missing games is not good. I want to be out there, I want to be there with my teammates.” (Yahoo Sports)
Bynum can sign a five-year deal worth $100 million this offseason, but his questionable health could alter that significantly.
What does this all mean for Philadelphia?
The 76ers currently find themselves sitting comfortably at 4-3, which is good enough for third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference.
7 players on the roster (Richardson, Turner, Hawes, Young, Holiday, Wright, Young) are currently averaging more than 8.5 points a game, which always seems to be a common trait amongst 76er teams from year-to-year. Instead of relying just on one offensive threat who can pile up 20.0+ points a game, Philadelphia has an abundance of weapons who can go off any night.
They’re fifth in the league for opposing teams scoring (90.7), so defense certainly hasn’t been an issue thus far.
Obviously this team would be a lot stronger on both ends of the court if Bynum was 100%. Spencer Hawes and Kwame Brown are not long-term solutions at the 4-5 spots.
If the 76ers can maintain this level of play for another month or two and remain afloat in the Eastern Conference with a .500 record until his return, then they should be just fine.
However, just because doctors expect Andrew back on the courts by January, doesn’t mean it will happen as planned. Setbacks have occurred every step of the way, so it wouldn’t shock me to hear him miss even more time down the road.
His prolonged absence from the team not only hurts Philadelphia’s postseason chances, but also his opportunity to land a big-fat contract this summer as well.
How can the Sixers pay a guy with the injury history and inconsistency that Bynum has?
Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports