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Bynum's knees pain-free, could return around all-star break

Because the news about Andrew Bynum has been discouraging for so long, reporters, when given the chance to question the 76ers' big man, tend to expect him to give answers that are more negative than positive about his knees.

I'm guilty of that myself.

Recently, though, when he has spoken unfiltered, Bynum has been indicating that he clearly feels he's making significant progress in his efforts to get on the court.

After working up a sweat with associate coach Michael Curry and head athletic trainer Kevin Johnson – Bynum was shooting jumpers along the baseline, out on the perimeter and attempting some shots with minimal jumping - he said that he now thinks it possible that he'll join the team by the all-star break.

"I have no idea exactly, I just want to get back," Bynum said Monday. "I think, I'm hoping around the all-star break. That's what I'm hoping.  I have no idea exactly when I'll be back."

The all-star break begins Feb. 14 and ends Feb 20. The team has 31 regular season games to play after the break.

Asked if the pain in his knees was 'tolerable,' Bynum gave another encouraging answer.

"It's minimal," Bynum said. "It's not hurting."

So we know that as of this date, with him yet to run on the court, Bynum's once painful knees are totally pain-free.

Bynum, who has been jogging on the team's treadmills and anti-gravity machine, said Monday represented the first time he had actually run.

"I went as fast as 8-miles-per-hour," he said.

He's not doing any straight-line running just yet, but Bynum hinted that this was coming soon. Running up and down the court will be the biggest test for Bynum, who appears ready to soon graduate from the treadmill and the other machinery he's been using. When he does start running – who knows, this could come before the end of the month – the expectations for his return to the court will only be heightened.

He says his weight is in the 300-pound range. However, his weight is not in his midsection.  Bynum has no gut and his swelling arms and chest indicate that he is taking the weight lifting seriously.