New-look 76ers open training camp without Bynum
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Dressed in his team-issued practice gear, Andrew Bynum looked the part of a Philadelphia 76er.
Bynum just couldn't run, practice or play like the rest of the team.
Wearing his Sixers tank top for the first day of training camp, Bynum was reduced Tuesday to an All-Star bench player. He participated in some light workouts, then took a seat on the bleachers behind Doug Collins, watching nonplussed as the third-year Sixers coach directed the season's first scrimmage.
The preseason will go on without Bynum. The Sixers ran a full-court scrimmage, complete with refs, with Bynum not much more than a sideline observer. The Sixers are resting the All-Star center for three weeks as precaution after he received knee treatment in Germany.
The Sixers remained optimistic that Bynum, acquired from Los Angeles as part of a four-team trade, will return in time for the Oct. 31 opener against Denver.
But the Sixers will play preseason games, gameplan, and scrimmage all without their biggest presence. That can only complicate the next month for a franchise that has designs on a deep playoff run.
The party line on Bynum at the first day of camp at Saint Joseph's was, better now than later.
"It's not frustrating, but it does complicate things a lot for us," forward Thaddeus Young said. "Bynum is a big part of our offense and what we're trying to do. We have to simulate a lot of stuff we're going to do with a, how should I say it, a dummy Bynum on the court."
Spencer Hawes and Kwame Brown are a bit more than mannequins simply filling in for Bynum. Hawes was penciled in as the starting forward before Bynum went down. Hawes and Bynum would give the Sixers two 7-footers in the middle, making them one of the more formidable duos in the East. Collins will mix and match in the preseason, giving Hawes, Brown, Young, and Lavoy Allen shots at center or power forward.
Collins advised the Sixers not to think the mishmash of lineups run out there will be the way it stays on opening night.
Collins leaned on Bynum during drills, asking the big man, "Is there where you want the guys to be? How do you like them cutting?"
Only 24, Bynum came to Philadelphia with massive expectations to be The Man on the team. Sitting out was a tough way to start.
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