Bynum shut down for knee trouble as a precaution

Andrew Bynum says he will take part in some low-impact workouts while sidelined for 3 weeks as a precaution for his recently treated knees.
Andrew Bynum says he will take part in some low-impact workouts while sidelined for 3 weeks as a precaution for his recently treated knees. (CHARLES FOX / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
Posted: October 03, 2012

WHILE THE anticipation for the upcoming 76ers season has been filled with excitement and high expectations, one of the first words to come out of the mouth of coach Doug Collins was "disappointing."

That's because earlier during Monday's media day at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, the team announced that center Andrew Bynum, focus of much of the excitement, will miss the first 3 weeks of training camp. Bynum, who has had a series of knee problems throughout his 7-year career, is being shut down to maximize the effects of the Orthokine therapy he had on both knees in late September in Germany.

The process involves a noninvasive, precautionary treatment in which blood is drawn from the knee, processed and reinjected. His former Lakers teammate, Kobe Bryant, had the procedure last season and, according to Collins, "put 5 years back in his knee."

Bynum was diagnosed by doctors as having a bone bruise of the medial femoral condyle of his right knee. So for now, the 7-foot, nearly 300-pounder will be limited to low-impact conditioning drills and a lot of listening as the team opens training camp Tuesday at Saint Joseph's.

"Obviously, it's disappointing," said Collins, who received a 1-year contract extension Monday, which will pay him through next season. "Nobody's more disappointed than Andrew. I spoke to him the other day, and he is so champing at the bit to come in here and to live up to all the expectations. He knows what's at stake. So much of what we're going to do offensively and in the halfcourt is going to revolve around Andrew.

"I think it's very important, as a player who went through injuries, one of the things you have to be very careful about is not letting the guy's ambition and wanting to get out there too quickly get in the way of any long-term place of where you want to be. It could be that on Opening Night against Denver [Oct. 31], it could be the first game he plays for us. Hopefully, he's going to be able to get on the practice court, maybe get a good week of work before we go into that opener."

With a roster that includes eight new players, having Bynum being little more than a bystander during training certainly isn't ideal.

"The treatment definitely worked, it helped me out a lot," Bynum said. "It's just having to get strong, attacking the weights, stuff like that. It's definitely disappointing. I want to be out there, so I'm going to do everything in my power to get back. I'm going to do all the walkthroughs and all the low-impact things that the team does.

"I'll be lifting weights, the treadmill, really doing just strengthening things. Also I'm going to be doing all the walkthrough things, like the way Doug starts up practices with stretching and going over the offense. I need to be out there with the team for chemistry and to learn the plays and those type things."

Bynum said the knee felt strange a couple of days ago during a workout. He met with a doctor in New York and then with team doctor Jack McPhilemy, and the decision was made to limit his activity for most of preseason. The Sixers will play seven preseason games from Oct. 11-22, so it seems a safe bet that Bynum will not put on his new uniform at least until the season opener.

Fellow big man Spencer Hawes put a positive spin on the day's big news, saying: "Timingwise, it's preferable now than opposed to December or January."

Bynum got the procedure done so close to the beginning of training camp because it is preferable to have it done as close as possible to the season, so that the treatment is fresh.

Bynum didn't seem overly concerned that coming back in 3 weeks would be a problem. As the team said in a statement, he looked at the decision as a precaution more than anything.

"It's definitely better [than in the past with knee injuries]. I feel a lot better," Bynum said. "The Orthokine therapy is definitely working. I've got no swelling in my knee, so I'm good. Kobe told me to go over there and do it. He said it really helped him out.

"I think it is what it is. At this point, I just need to be able to go out and work on my craft. I should be able to do it even with being shut down. I can go and work out and get my shot and get my touches. It's going to be up to the training staff, and whatever they say at that point will be the determining factor. I'm confident I'll be able to play as soon as the doctors say."

And as overjoyed as Sixers fans are to have a dominant player in the league, Bynum isn't far behind in his excitement to play for the fans.

"The press conference [when he was introduced] was amazing, I've never seen anything like that. The fans here are passionate, and I want to be there to give them a reason to be passionate. I want to win some games for this organization, and I think it goes both ways. For me to have the next step in my career, this is a great fit. I'm looking forward to the opportunity. It's taking the next step in my career. There's a lot of opportunity here, and I'm just looking to make the most of it. I want to get with the guys and get that whole process started, starting [Tuesday] when we get out on the court and figuring all those type of things out and trying to maximize the time we have with the guys here. I'm looking forward to it."

Six shots

Spencer Hawes looked very fit, with more upper-body mass on his svelte frame . . . Thaddeus Young said he has added 22 things to his game. Twenty-one of those are pounds, as he finished last season at 214 and said Monday that he is up to 235. The other is a consistent jump shot. "He has not lost any quickness, and he made eight three-pointers during a workout the other day," Doug Collins said . . . The coach is looking for someone to take the reins as a vocal leader, and Evan Turner was quite vocal Monday, zinging one-liners, taking video, playing around with media members . . . With Andrew Bynum, Hawes, Kwame Brown and Arnett Moultrie all standing taller than he is, Temple product Lavoy Allen teased that he probably would play some shooting guard and small forward. "I'll play point guard if that's what coach wants me to do," Allen said in a just-happy-to-be-in-the-NBA moment . . . Because of Bynum's unavailability, the team signed free-agent center Mikki Moore, a 13-year NBA journeyman.


Contact Bob Cooney at cooneyb@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter @BobCooney76. For more Sixers coverage, read his blog at philly.com/Sixerville.

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