Bynum says he’ll make debut after All-Star
by Jason Wolf, USA TODAY Sports
PHILADELPHIA – Andrew Bynum said he’s going to make his Philadelphia 76ers debut “right after the all-star break, in my mind,” but is unsure when he might join his teammates for full practices.
“I talked about that for a little while,” Bynum said Monday about possibly playing before the break. “To me, it doesn’t really matter when I come back. I think, giving myself a full ‘nother week of training is going to be better than trying to come back before that.”
Philadelphia’s first game after the all-star break is Feb. 20 at Minnesota. The following game is against Miami on Feb. 23 in Philadelphia.
Meanwhile, Sixers general manager Tony DiLeo told reporters that Bynum was finishing the first phase of his rehab and is on pace to take part in practice by the first week of February. In December, DiLeo said Bynum’s rehab would involve six phases.
“I have no idea,” Bynum said about the possibility of joining practice next week. “That’ll be up to the doctors at that point. … I haven’t discussed anything yet.”
The 7-foot, 300-pound center has been sidelined all season with bone bruises and cartilage damage in his knees. He has been running with the aid of an anti-gravity treadmill, taking part in team shootarounds and doing a little bit more each day. He said he just began sprinting Monday and that he dunked Sunday.
“Sprints. Still no slides. But I dunked yesterday,” he said. “So I’m happy I can still do that. And I’m taking it really, really slow.”
Bynum needs to demonstrate the ability to run without the anti-gravity treadmill, cut and jump before returning to action.
“We’re very encouraged,” Sixers coach Doug Collins said about Bynum’s progress. “I think the most important thing is he’s encouraged, that he’s feeling better. You can always tell when guys start feeling better. When you’re hurt, you don’t feel like you’re part of the team. Anybody who’s ever been through that before, especially a guy who’s been traded here. You never feel like you’re part of the team, as much as you’re around or whatever, because when you’re not out there playing and … [For more on Andrew Bynum says he'll make debut after All-Star game, click here.]