The best way to weave through all the convolution concerning Andrew Bynum is to heed the response last month of 76ers general manager Tony DiLeo.
When asked about developments regarding Bynum's knees, DiLeo asked reporters: "What did Andrew say?"
Quite frankly, what Bynum has said and continues to say - if you really pay attention - is clearer than what has been heard from any other source.
The latest bit of news from the Sixers is that Bynum's knees are "healing." But what does this mean?
At this point, and rightfully so, Sixers fans want to hear that term only if it means Bynum's knees will soon be as healthy as they were perceived to be that day in August when Sixers owner Josh Harris piped, "Where do I sign? Show me the contract." That was shortly after the deal for Bynum was consummated and there was talk of signing the center, on the heels of a breakout season, to a long-term deal.
The news of this past Friday - that Bynum is at the beginning of a six-step process for getting back on the court and that he is cleared to ride a stationary bike - is considered positive, but Bynum is correct in calling it "a baby step." Almost five months after the trade and seven since he played his last NBA game, his path to NBA readiness is still a long one.
After the 7-foot, 295-pound Bynum added a bone bruise to his left knee, believed to be the result of bowling, Bynum issued a stoic analysis of his health.
"I'm taking the position that if it happens bowling, what happens dunking?" Bynum said, asking a question many fans have no doubt asked themselves.
While we have been told that the injury is a pair of identical bone bruises to his knees - the first of which occurred in September - it was Bynum who introduced into the equation the "weakened cartilage state" of his knees on Nov. 17.
"There's nothing I can really do about it; it's arthritis in the knees," Bynum said
From there, it went further downhill.
"The cartilage is missing, so that's not something that's going to regrow itself," he continued. "Maybe in the future, next three to five years, there may be something out there that really does help. For right now it's kind of just a waiting game."
A recent report citing a top orthopedic surgeon - a doctor who has never seen any of Bynum's MRIs - said that Bynum may have a condition (osteochondritis dessican lesions) that in athletes can be corrected only through surgery.
On Friday, Bynum said that surgery was off the table - and that's coming from his own orthopedist, David Altchek, world renowned in his own right. Altchek is the team surgeon for the New York Mets, and the Washington Wizards have entrusted him with the recovery of former No. 1 overall pick John Wall. And it was Altchek to whom the New York Yankees turned when reliever Mariano Rivera went down with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and damaged meniscus in his right knee.
If there is a Mount Rushmore for sports orthopedic surgeons, Altchek and James Andrews (countless NFL knee reconstructions, most notably Adrian Peterson's) are on it.
So this is where we are. Not with the resolution that was hoped for concerning Bynum's knees, and still with no time line for his return. The best that can be done now is to wait for Bynum's next pronouncement.
He's been the best source on his knees, and there's no reason to expect that to change any time soon.