By Ben Golliver
Less than one week after saying that he would "definitely be back" this season, Sixers center Andrew Bynum acknowledged to reporters on Friday that he might not return to the court due to ongoing knee problems.
The Delaware County Daily Times reports that Bynum experienced yet another setback after participating in a scrimmage last week.
Andrew Bynum said he's experiencing some swelling in his right knee after last week's 5-on-5 scrimmage, calling it a “four- to five-day setback” and adding that he doesn't feel the need to play to get his next contract.
“Now it's getting really late,” he said. “I don't know.”
“Being healthy is more important than everything else,” Bynum said. “If I am healthy, I'll get a deal. I have to be able to play and I need to get to the point where I'm healthy to play.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the Sixers and Bynum are now "considering" arthroscopic surgery to "clean out loose cartilage" in his right knee.
The Sixers' regular season ends in a little more than six weeks. Philadelphia is in the midst of a seven-game losing streak that has found them in the Atlantic Division basement with a record of 22-34. They are six games out of the eighth seed with 26 to play. Coach Doug Collins recently lit up his team for its lack of effort and focus following a double-digit loss to the Magic.
Bynum's 2012-13 season will be remembered for a trickling series of health updates that continually pushed back his much-anticipated debut following a four-team blockbuster trade that saw him move from the Lakers to the Sixers last summer. Collins reflected on the trade during his 10-minute postgame address earlier this week, as noted by NBA.com.
“The team that we tried to put together we’ve never seen. And so I think, when you take a huge piece away from it, your warts show.”
“We made a huge deal. And we have nobody playing as part of that deal. How many teams can give up Andre Iguodala, Moe Harkless and Nik Vucevic, and have nothing in return playing? That’s tough to overcome, right? That’s just the facts. I’m not looking for any out. But that’s the facts."
Bynum sat out training camp and the preseason because of a bone bruise in his right knee. In November, Bynum told reporters that he had cartilage damage in his left knee, and later admitted that the "setback" happened while he was bowling. The Sixers had initially hoped he would return in December but eventually opted to list him as out indefinitely following that setback. In January, Bynum was cleared to run and spoke about a return to the court after the All-Star break.
He finally participated in a scrimmage last week, but ESPN.com reported that Collins told reporters that his center had a long way to go and that the season was "slipping away."
"He looked like a guy who hadn't played in nine months," Collins said. "I don't think any bells and whistles should be sent off that he's close to playing."Bynum, 25, is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. The 2005 first-round pick holds career averages of 11.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. Last season, Bynum averaged 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks for the Lakers.