Andrew Bynum’s Return Likely Delayed?
The Philadelphia 76ers knew about Andrew Bynum’s history of knee problems when they acquired the 24-year-old center this summer and it doesn’t appear to have come as much of a surprise that the big man was going to require treatments prior to the start of the season. However, the plan to inject both of Bynum’s knees with Synvisc-One on Monday, October 22 could delay Bynum’s return to the lineup, or even the practice court, a lot longer than team officials are letting on.
According to the company website, Synvisc-One is designed to treat Osteoarthritis, a common form of arthritis pain in the knee. Pain and stiffness is caused by the cartilage protecting the ends of the bones deteriorating and the joint fluid losing its shock-absorbing qualities. Synvisc-One supplements a person’s own joint fluid and can provide up to six months of relief.
However, Synvisc-One takes four weeks after the injection before most patients experience pain relief, there can be side effects such as swelling or fluid buildup and 29 percent of patients do not experience pain relief as a result of the procedure.
The 76ers are not planning to rush Bynum back before he is able, and Sixers head coach Doug Collins confirmed that the team will exercise caution with their All-Star center.
“The next step for him is going to be when he starts weight bearing and running,” Collins said. “This is not like the first time he has gone through this, he has done this before and he knows how to handle it. This kid is 24 years old and we are going to listen to him, his body and when he is ready to play, he is going to be out there and he is going to be playing.
“He is a big man. He is 290 lbs. He is carrying a lot of weight every time that foot hits the floor. There is a lot of stress on that joint. The big thing is you don’t get swelling. That’s where you get the stiffness and the problems with mobility, so that’s what you have to monitor.”
Even if Bynum’s treatment progresses faster than Synvisc-One describes, it would not be reasonable to expect an early return to game activity.
“This is something that has happened where he has had the summer off, so you have to factor in the inactivity of the summer,” Collins said. “A lot that (timetable) is going to be how he responds to increased activity. I know how important the home opener is, but we are not going to do anything silly and have another setback.”
As much as the 76ers would like to get Bynum back on the floor as quickly as possible, they are not taking any chances and the team has just added an anti-gravity machine that takes up to 80 percent of your body weight off so Bynum can get his cardio workouts in as he recovers. Assuming it takes the typical four weeks for Bynum to get pain relief from the Synvisc-One injections and he does not experience any side-effects, he will still have to work his way into basketball shape after a long period of restricted activity. Patience seems to be the operative word as the 76ers wait for Bynum‘s debut.