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Bynum has 'cartilage damage' in knee

Andrew Bynum is still targeting a mid-December return to practice. (Matt Rourke/AP)

Andrew Bynum

By Ben Golliver

Double the pain, double the anguish.

Sixers center Andrew Bynum has been sidelined throughout training camp, preseason and the first eight games of the regular season due to a bone bruise in his right knee. On Friday, Bynum told reporters that he has now suffered "setback" with his left knee as well. While surgery is not currently anticipated, his expected return date of mid-December, at the earliest, would now seem to be in some question.

The Philadelphia Daily News reported that Bynum, acquired from the Lakers in a four-team blockbuster trade this summer, told reporters before a Friday game against the Jazz that he has "cartilage damage" in his left knee.

Bynum has setback as he says there is swelling and cartilage damage in left knee. Bynum said there is no timetable for return nor that it has changed from what team announced earlier this week.

Gannett added the following.

Bynum announces "setback" with swelling in both knees. Still targeting mid-December to return to practice. Then 1-4 weeks until [he can play in a] game. Bynum says it's an issue w cartilage in both knees, but not degradation. Says no procedure will help. Just time.

GM Tony DiLeo says timetable for Bynum's return won't change, but team will reevaluate his knees mid-Dec. Was expected back mid-December.

The Delaware County Daily Times also reported on statements from both Bynum and DiLeo.

Bynum said he has weakened cartilage in both knees. Said pain is something he's used to and expects to remain on same timetable. He said he has a bone bruise on BOTH knees. Bynum said he first noticed swelling "a couple days ago, I think, and I’m telling you now."

DiLeo said Sixers will not force Bynum to play in pain. Referred to this as hopeful for long term relationship, doesn't want to hurt him more. DiLeo: "Main concern is Andrew’s health. Main concern is big picture. We want to have a long relationship with him."

Earlier this week, the Sixers announced that Bynum could miss more than a month due to his right knee after he suffered a "bone bruise" in September.

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. This fall, Bynum underwent Orthokine treatments on both of his knees in Germany.

Sixers GM Tony DiLeo had this statement earlier this week.

"We know that Sixers fans are eager to see Andrew Bynum play and shine in a 76ers uniform," he said. "We also know that no one is more eager to see Andrew play for the Sixers than Andrew himself. He fully realizes the key contribution he can make to the team. Hopefully, that day is coming soon."

The exact wording of Bynum's timeline, issued in a press release, was fairly complex. Here it is in its entirety.

Dr. Altcheck extended Andrew's return date for a second time by an additional three weeks. However, in what the Sixers believe is an optimistic sign, Dr. Altchek also indicated that Andrew could immediately resume low impact exercise. Low impact exercise for a period of two weeks is to be followed by three weeks of conditioning on an anti-gravity treadmill. The doctors and the team will be closely watching how Bynum's knee responds during this five week regimen. Upon successful completion, Bynum is expected to be able to resume normal basketball activity.

If the current prognosis holds unchanged, Bynum would be cleared to resume normal basketball activity by approximately December 10. In addition, the team estimates that Bynum in turn will need an additional 1-4 weeks thereafter for conditioning, training and practice before being able to resume game play with significant minutes.

Sixers coach Doug Collins had made due with Bynum by turning to Spencer Hawes, Lavoy Allen and Kwame Brown in the post, and giving heavy minutes to forward Thaddeus Young. Philadelphia is 4-4 on the season entering Friday.