Nov 12, 2012, 11:32 AM EST
This one was a long time coming, though it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt:
After an extended and increasingly worrisome period of radio silence,
the Sixers have finally spoken on the subject of star center Andrew
Bynum’s knee injury. Their updated timetable for Bynum’s return now has
him resuming basketball activities on Dec. 10th, and actually being
cleared to play some 1-4 weeks after that.
By my estimation, the most likely return date for Bynum at this
point would be Jan. 8th, for the team’s home game against the Brooklyn
Nets. The Nets game will be the Sixers’ first at the WFC in
two-and-a-half weeks, coming after the team’s grueling, season-long
eight-game road trip (including stops in Memphis, LA, OKC and San
Antonio) that will take them through the end of December and into the
beginning of the new year. It makes sense that they’d keep Bynum at home
for that trip and debut him in front of an uproarious Philly crowd, who
may very well be greeting Drew as a potential savior after the likely
brutality of their road trip.
Terrible news, obviously, though in a way it’s a little bit
comforting—the team had been so hush-hush surrounding Bynum’s status
that the fact that he still has two legs and aspirations to play
professional basketball has to be seen as something of a positive.
Personally, I’d started to wonder if we weren’t a week or two away from
hearing he was going under the knife for season-ending surgery and
ending up as a Greg Oden-like basketball tragedy. If we don’t see him
for the first time until January, but he’s clean from there, I can
certainly live with that.
And fact is, the team is doing all right without Bynum for now.
That’s certainly not to say we don’t need him or are in some way better
off without him—just that, through six games, it looks like the
necessary people (most of whom I gave their propers earlier today) are
stepping up to fill the void left by Bynum, and if they continue to do
so, there’s no reason to think the team won’t be able to tread water at
the very least until he makes his eventual return. If he misses 35
games, which is the number he’d miss with a Jan. 8th return, I think the
team can probably go 20-15 over that stretch.
And plus, look on the bright side: Jason Richardson is likely to
return against the Bucks tonight. Not exactly an even trade, but the
Sixers will have to take it for now. Things could be a lot worse.
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