Andrew Bynum ailing, unable to practice with 76ers

Sixers center Andrew Bynum (left) was supposed to practice with his new team for the first time on Wednesday. Instead, he watched from the sideline.
Sixers center Andrew Bynum (left) was supposed to practice with his new team for the first time on Wednesday. Instead, he watched from the sideline. (DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer)
Posted: October 26, 2012

Doug Collins is sending a message loud and clear to his team. The 76ers coach doesn't want the players to use injuries as an excuse, even if it is their big-ticket item who is hurting.

Collins uses the old mantra that he will prepare with the players who are available.

One of the players not at his disposal is Andrew Bynum. While Wednesday was targeted as Bynum's first day to practice with his new team, Sixers general manager Tony DiLeo said the center would not participate until he is pain-free in his right knee.

With the opener against the Denver Nuggets at the Wells Fargo Center coming up Wednesday, it would be surprising if Bynum is ready to go.

"I think every day he is not here on the court diminishes his chance to be here for the opener," DiLeo said.

So while Collins would like Bynum back as much as anybody, the coach made it clear that a team that was 6-1 in the preseason is prepared to win, regardless of who is in the lineup.

"We are not going to look over at a lifeline and wait for our lifeline to get back," Collins said after Wednesday's practice at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. "You can't do that.

"I have to let our guys know we are good enough to win, and hopefully when Andrew comes back, we can be better, and he can take us to another level."

Bynum is officially out with right knee discomfort. He suffered a bone bruise to the knee during an offseason workout.

"I went up and under, and I didn't feel pops or anything like that," Bynum said. "It kind of buckled, and from that point we have been cautious."

Nobody, including Bynum, knows when he will be back.

Bynum earned his first all-star appearance last season while averaging 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds for the Los Angeles Lakers before being sent to the Sixers in a four-team blockbuster trade.

He turns 25 on Saturday and is entering his eighth NBA season, but he has the knees of somebody much older. Last month he received platelet therapy in Germany for the arthritis that affects his knees.

On Monday, Bynum received a previously scheduled injection of Synvisc-One in both knees. It is a natural substance that lubricates and cushions the joints and is believed to provide up to six months of protection. It is not related to the platelet therapy. Bynum also plans to get another injection at the all-star break.

Bynum agreed with the team that he shouldn't return until the pain is gone.

"The doctors and team are all cautious," Bynum said. "We want to avoid any type of setback. I will be evaluated and am being reevaluated, and I will be all right."

Bynum said his right knee doesn't hurt when he walks, but it does when he takes part in stressful activity. Still, he is confident his knee will eventually be pain-free.

Last season he played 60 of 66 games. He was suspended for the first four because of a foul committed during the 2011 playoffs. He missed a game April 3 with a left ankle sprain and sat out the regular-season finale for rest.

"I have carried this type of swelling in the past, I have always been able to play, and last year I was able to play [almost] every game after my suspension," he said. "I am confident that this situation can be resolved . . . after getting the time to rest and heal."

So the team and Bynum will exercise caution and patience along with some mental toughness, with Collins setting the tone.

"If this team starts feeling we're not good enough without him, we aren't going to beat anybody," Collins said. "There is a level of confidence you need to have in this business to know you can win."

Notes. Three other Sixers also missed practice: Kwame Brown (left calf strain), Maalik Wayns (head bruise), and Evan Turner (left ankle sprain). Dorell Wright (right quad bruise) went through only noncontact drills.

All four were listed as day to day.


Contact Marc Narducci at mnarducci@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @sjnard.

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