Andrew Bynum doesn’t want to play in pain. After yet another setback in his recovery from knee injuries, there’s dwindling hope that he will play at all for the Philadelphia 76ers this season.
Bynum took part in just a few minutes of practice last week, a five-on-zero drill that wasn’t even a full scrimmage. It was the first time he’d been able to be involved in any practice since the 76ers traded for him last summer.
Bynum experienced swelling and discomfort in his right knee after the practice, he told reporters in Philadelphia on Friday. Bynum had believed for months that rest and rehab on bone bruises in both knees would allow him to play this season. Just 10 days ago he declared he’d “definitely be back sometime” this season.
“It’s getting late. I don’t know [about playing this season],” Bynum said. “I don’t want to play in pain. … I’m 25, it’s my life.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer, citing sources, reported late Friday that Bynum and the team are considering arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, a procedure that would likely prevent Bynum from returning this season.
The 76ers, who are on a seven-game losing streak that has dropped them six games back from the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, have 26 games remaining.
After the brief and surprising appearance at practice last week, 76ers coach Doug Collins doused optimism by saying it looked as though Bynum was still far away from being able to play in games because of conditioning issues.
“I know it’s tough on him, he wants to play,” Collins said Thursday. “We traded for him to come in here and play, and he hasn’t been able to and that’s hard. Hard on him and hard on everyone, and so I feel badly.”
Bynum played 72 of 78 games (including playoffs) for the Los Angeles Lakers last season before the 76ers traded for him in a blockbuster deal in August. After a procedure in Germany aimed at strengthening his knees, it was discovered that he had a bone bruise in his right knee in September. A similar bone bruise was discovered in his left knee in November following a night out bowling.
Bynum, who is earning $16.9 million this season, is scheduled to become a free agent in July.
“I think being healthy is more important than everything else,” he 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 with my body where I’m able to play, however long that takes.”