With progress, comes peace for Bynum
Posted: 2:50 PM, January 29, 2013
As center Andrew Bynum continues to make headway in his rehabilitation on the court, so, too, has his demeanor improved off of it.
“We're very encouraged [by Bynum's progress]," said head coach Doug Collins Monday. "I think the most important thing is that he is encouraged. You can always tell when guys start feeling better.
"When you're hurt, you don't feel like you're part of the team… Especially a guy who's been traded [to a new team]. I get a sense that he's getting that feeling of being back in the mix, which is nice."
Acquired by the Sixers in a blockbuster four-team trade last summer, the seven-foot, 285-pound Bynum has patiently waited for bilateral bone bruises and a weakened cartilage state in his knees to heal while spectating from the end of the Philly bench for the better part of the last four months.
"[We're taking] baby steps," said Bynum Monday. "Still no [lateral] slides, but I dunked yesterday. I was happy to know I could still do that, which is good. [We're] just taking it really, really slowly.
"I think [I could be back] right after the All-Star break, in my mind."
With just over two weeks remaining until the break – February 14-19, Bynum still has items left on his rehabilitation agenda before he can see game action.
“We did sprints [Monday]," said Bynum. "That's the next step – doing sprints, next [lateral] slides.
"I'm a little bit further ahead [of schedule than I though I'd be]. I honestly believe that. Earlier, before I started getting better, I thought I'd have to play through a lot of pain, but the pain is subsiding a bit, which is good.”
Once Bynum returns, establishing chemistry and identity with him on the floor will be the next step. With the exception of fellow-center Kwame Brown, with whom Bynum played a total of 31 minutes over four seasons when they were both with the Lakers, he has never played in a game situation with any of his new teammates.
As is the case when any new addition is made, there will be some initial growing pains, but the Sixers know that those early aches will pay dividends when they eventually do adjust to carrying the extra seven feet and 285 pounds that Bynum will add to the team's frame.