PHILADELPHIA — Andrew Bynum’s debut with the Philadelphia 76ers is on hold again.
General manager Tony DiLeo said Saturday that Bynum is out indefinitely and there’s no timetable set for his first game. The All-Star center was acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers in a four-team trade before the season.
“We don’t know when he’ll be back,” DiLeo said. “Only Andrew’s body can answer that question. When he feels better, we can step up the rehab program. We just have to wait to see how he reacts to the rehab.”
Bynum had been recovering from a bone bruise on his right knee and the Sixers were hoping he would be cleared to return to basketball activities by Dec. 10. But he injured his left knee while bowling two weeks ago and now his return has been pushed back four times since the beginning of training camp.
“I want to emphasize that we have been forthcoming and consistent with the information,” DiLeo said. “We’ve said all along that we need some patience and that this is a hard-to-predict healing process. Andrew, how his body reacts is the indicator in how and when he can take the next step in his rehab program.”
DiLeo said Bynum has “bilateral bone bruises and a weakened cartilage state” in his knees. Still, DiLeo defended the trade that sent All-Star forward Andre Iguodala to Denver in the multi-team deal. The Sixers are 7-5 in their first 12 games, entering Saturday night’s matchup against Oklahoma City.
“We want to put this behind us now and focus on the rest of our team,” DiLeo said. “We don’t know when he’s coming back, but we have a good team out there. We have a great coaching staff that’s doing a great job. We’re playing hard every night and we just want to focus on the team going forward.”
Bynum, 25, 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 7-footer millions.
“We are in charge of his rehab and right now he’s just doing low-impact rehab things,” DiLeo said. “We are doing everything possible, leaving no stone unturned in consulting with the best experts in the world. We’re looking into his rehab program, talking to doctors. We’re doing everything possible to get him back on the court because we want to see that and our fans want to see that.”
Bynum 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.