By Ben Golliver
The Sixers announced Monday that center Andrew Bynum will undergo season-ending arthroscopic surgery to "clean out loose bodies" in both of his knees on Tuesday. The surgeries will end Bynum's 2012-13 season before he ever got the chance to suit up for the Sixers, who acquired him from the Lakers in a four-team blockbuster trade last summer.
Bynum, 25, is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer after earning $16.9 million this season. Seen as a no-brainer max contract player as recently as last summer, there's no question Bynum's lost season and ongoing knee issues have hurt his free agency stock.
The bad news has steadily trickled out for Bynum this season. He 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 with bone bruises in both of his knees following that setback.
In January, Bynum was cleared to run and spoke about a return to the court after the All-Star Break. After participating in a 5-on-5 scrimmage in February, Bynum conceded on March 1 that he might not play this season because of swelling in his right knee. Season-ending surgery was then raised as a possibility two weeks ago.
These surgeries will be the third and fourth of Bynum's career. In 2008, Bynum dislocated his left knee cap and eventually underwent arthroscopic surgery. In 2010, Bynum underwent arthroscopic knee surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee. In 2012, Bynum underwent Orthokine treatments on both of his knees in Germany.
Philadelphia, now 25-40 on the season, has fallen out of the Eastern Conference's playoff picture, winning just three of their last 16 games. Coach Doug Collins recently lit up his team for its lack of effort and focus following a double-digit loss to the Magic. 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.