When 76ers coach Doug Collins and his team centerpiece, Andrew Bynum, had a recent conversation, the center told Collins that if they were in the regular season, he would be able to play right now.
But the reality is that they are not in the regular season and Bynum is scheduled to have further injections in both knees Monday to help lubricate the joints and better prepare them for the regular season.
Bynum will receive an injection of Synvisc-One. Used for the treatment of osteoarthritis, it is a natural substance that lubricates and cushions the joints. It is believed to provide up to six months of protection. According to his agent, Bynum will receive another injection at the all-star break.
The treatment is not related to the platelet therapy that Bynum underwent last month in Germany.
"Andrew's doing well," Collins said Monday before the Sixers improved their preseason record to 2-1 with a 107-75 victory over Boston at the Wells Fargo Center. "He's progressing and on track to where I think he hoped he would be at this time. Obviously, the next step for him is getting running and weight-bearing."
The plan for Bynum's return to the court is for three days of practice beginning Oct. 24. Collins plans on a break for the Sixers on Oct. 27 and then practice the next three days before the team opens the season at home against Denver on Oct. 31.
Bynum was acquired in a four-team trade on Aug. 10. Last season, he averaged career highs in points (18.7) and rebounds (11.8). He also blocked 1.98 shots per game and was named second-team all-NBA.
Bynum's conditioning will be a concern. While he is able to do some cardiovascular work on what Collins has described as an "antigravity machine," there is nothing Bynum can do to prepare him for games.
"A lot of that is going to be how he responds to increased activity," Collins said when asked if Bynum would be ready for the start of the season. "I know how important the home opener is, but we're not going to do anything silly and have another setback where it costs you and now you have to miss those kinds of games."
Boston coach Doc Rivers, close friends with Collins, said that working a big player back into the lineup and getting players accustomed to him is easier than it is with smaller players.
"It is easier with a big [man], I would say that - he's going to be big when he plays," Rivers said. "He's still going to be seven feet today and tomorrow. I think it's a lot tougher when you have guards and you are trying to integrate them into your system."
Hawes leads way. Spencer Hawes came off the bench for 17 points and eight rebounds to lead five Sixers in double figures against Boston.
Thaddeus Young scored 15 points and Nick Young added 14 off the bench.
The Sixers were without Kwame Brown, who missed the game with a strained calf. Kevin Garnett did not play for Boston.
Rivers endorses Collins. Collins and Rivers have had their names tossed around as potential Olympic coaches. Rivers thinks that Collins would be good for the job.
"Doug, he'd be great," Rivers said of Collins, a member of the 1972 U.S. Olympic team. "When you think about the history . . . I just think that the best guy that will help us win is the right way to go."