IF YOU'RE LOOKING for good news concerning Andrew Bynum it is this:
He says his right knee, the one that suffered the bone bruise in mid-September and was originally thought to be the sole reason keeping him from putting on a Sixers uniform, is feeling great. Now, he says, he's ready to see how it will hold up to basketball activities.
But as has been the case since the first day of training camp, bad news was also shared when Bynum met with a gathering of media before Monday's Sixers-Pistons game. While the right knee is doing well, the left knee, which started bothering him after bowling last month, is not.
"My left knee is still really sore, right knee is actually better, so that's good," said Bynum, who last spoke with the media on Nov. 25. "It's just pain, just by walking around. Worst case scenario it's another month."
Bynam, who said swimming is his only activity, is scheduled to see doctors on Dec. 20. Asked if he was going to get an MRI (or two) at that time, Bynum said: "Probably so, I'm not sure yet but probably. There's nothing I can really do about it. It's arthritis in the knees, cartilage is missing so that's not going to regrow itself. Maybe in the future, in the next 3 to 5 years maybe there's something out there that really does help, but for right now it's really just a waiting game."
And he admitted for the first time that there is a possibility he might not play this season, though he is optimistic he will.
The more Bynum speaks and the longer the mystery surrounding his knees goes on, one thing becomes more and more clear - that these problems aren't because of any move he made while working out or because of strain he put on the joints while bowling. It seems pretty evident that Bynum just has chronically bad knees that probably will warrant rest, treatment and uncertainty for the rest of his career.
"It's just continuous pain," he said of the left knee. "It's just the bone bruise has to heal. It's a mirror image of my right knee and my right knee took 4 months. I think we're a little bit ahead of the curve because for 2 months my right knee was swollen pretty big. So we've gotten the swelling out of that already [in the left] and I think it could be quicker. If my left knee gets better and feels like my right knee then I'll be playing.
"As far as a threshold on the pain it's more about, I think, protecting and being cautious about my knees. I feel this pain walking around so I think it would be kind of silly, because if I start running or doing anything basketball [related] because it's sure going to get worse. Until it heals up we're being cautious and taking our time and giving it time to heal.
"If this was the Finals and it could be potentially the end, I'd be helping this team win because I think that's a serious time and you want to be a part of that. But other than that I don't think, especially right now, it would be a good time to risk anything. Why risk it when you have time to come back and be 100 percent? My right knee is feeling really, really good. I would definitely test it on the right side. I think it's more evidence that my knees weren't right if they got hurt playing because it's definitely going to happen if I play basketball [right now]."
So the waiting continues. And while Bynum said he has never thought about not being in a Sixers uniform, his patience is wearing thin.
"I think initially [he felt pressure from the organization to come back], but then I realized that I was the one putting pressure on myself, [it was] coming from myself," he said. "So I just have to relax a little bit. Athletes are super impatient and being impatient would certainly be a detriment so I won't do that. Gamewise I think it will be pretty quick [to get back in shape]. Once I get back and to get in game-shape I think it will be about a week or maybe 2, at the max. But getting there is going to be the hard work."