PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Andrew Bynum's debut with the Philadelphia 76ers has been pushed back more times than the start of the NHL season.
Yet to even practice this season, the injured All-Star vowed to return from the bone bruises that have sidelined him.
"I'm confident I'll be on the court this season," he said Friday night.
When? Well, no one from Bynum to his doctor seem to know, even after an encouraging exam Thursday that will let the 7-foot center being a six-step rehabilitation process. Bynum can start low-impact exercises like riding a stationary bike as the first step of his rehab.
There is no date for a return. The All-Star center was acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers in a four-team trade before the season.
"The bone bruises are healed and the swelling is gone, so those two things are great," Bynum said. "We're just waiting for mechanical issues to be resolved, and that's going to take anywhere from a month to two. I have no idea, but we're going to work toward grinding it out so it's not causing me any problems."
Bynum said his right knee feels fine and there's still some pain in his left knee.
The 25-year-old center is in the final year of his contract and could sign a five-year deal worth more than $100 million in the offseason, if he's healthy. But his uncertain status could be costing the All-Star millions.
"The doctors are taking their time because I want to play for another 10, 12 years, and not two," Bynum said. "So I think the biggest thing here is to take our time and get it done right."
He won two NBA titles in seven seasons with the Lakers. The Sixers were hoping he could help them become one of the league's elite teams.
Without a legitimate big man in the middle, the Sixers have stumbled, and lost five straight games heading into Friday's game against Atlanta.
"He's on the last year of his deal, he's got to get himself healthy to play," coach Doug Collins said. "There's a lot at stake for him and the organization."