Sources: Drew Considering Knee Surgery
John N. Mitchell, Inquirer Staff Writer
Posted: Saturday, March 2, 2013, 2:02 AM
The 76ers and center Andrew Bynum are considering arthroscopic surgery on the player's right knee in order to clean out loose cartilage, a procedure that could likely end the season for the center they traded so many young assets to acquire, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
Bynum suffered a setback in the form of swelling in his right knee following his participation in a five-on-five scrimmage, first reported in The Inquirer Feb. 22. While the Sixers have been unable to practice recently due to their schedule, Bynum would not have been able to participate due to the swelling in his knee, which was also first reported by The Inquirer.
Bynum said his left knee "feels good."
Following practice at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine on Friday, Bynum acknowledged that his season might in fact be over.
"Now it's getting a little late, so I really don't know," Bynum said when asked if he were considering sitting out the final two months of the 76ers season. "I played in one scrimmage and [I have] a four- to five-day setback," Bynum said. He added that he is "just getting treatment and trying to push the fluid out" of his knee.
"I still think I can play," Bynum said, "but like I said, the season is short."
And growing shorter by the day for the teammates he has never shared the floor with since being traded to Philadelphia.
The Sixers (22-34) suffered their season-high seventh loss in a row at Chicago on Thursday, a setback that placed them six games out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They have lost eight road games in a row, and they have won just one road game in 2013, over the Los Angeles Lakers on New Year's Day.
The Sixers will try to break their losing streak at the Wells Fargo Center when they host the surprisingly good Golden State Warriors. After that, the Sixers will have 25 games remaining in the regular season. Of those remaining games, just nine are at the Wells Fargo Center. Of their last 16, 12 are on the road.
Sixers coach Doug Collins has tried all season to impress upon the Sixers that they must continue to play hard without Bynum, who last season with the Lakers earned second-team all-NBA honors after averaging 18.7 points on 55.8 percent shooting, 11.8 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks.
"From training camp on, I've tried to say, 'You know what, we don't have Andrew. We've got to play and then hopefully we get him back and he's going to really help us.' I haven't been waking up every morning saying, 'I hope he gets back today.' Do I hope that? Sure I do, but I've got to focus in on these guys who are playing every night," Collins said.
Bynum, acquired from the Lakers in a 12-player deal, had serious knee issues with Los Angeles. He had surgery in 2008 for a dislocated left kneecap and on his right knee in 2010 because of torn cartilage. He played every regular-season game only once in seven seasons with the Lakers.
Bynum, who is earning more than $16 million this season, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Sixers hold his "Larry Bird" rights and therefore can pay him more than any other team. However, the Sixers must seriously consider the ramifications of re-signing a player with a history of knee problems.
In order to acquire Bynum last summer, the Sixers, who also acquired injured shooting guard Jason Richardson in the trade, dealt Andre Iguodala to Denver, and Maurice Harkless, Nik Vucevic, and a conditional first-round draft pick to Orlando.