The Philadelphia 76ers have gone months without having their biggest superstar on the floor. What’s more, the Sixers may not be any closer to getting Andrew Bynum back, as another setback on Feb. 11 ruined his plans to play later this month. Yet as unlucky as the Sixers are without Bynum, they aren’t alone in playing the waiting game for their best player -- although the Chicago Bulls are still surviving without Derrick Rose.
Like Bynum, Rose pushed back his comeback date on Feb. 12, according to USA TODAY Sports. He revealed that there is no “set date” for his return, although it won’t happen until he is “110%.” Despite Chicago’s need for Rose to be at 110%, the former MVP might not be that healthy for the rest of the year, just like Bynum might not be.
The Sixers and Bulls have each had to adjust without their best players all season. Now they are even further away from getting Bynum and Rose back as the playoff chase heats up. However, unlike Philadelphia, Chicago is still in a good position.
Bynum hasn’t played one minute as a Sixer, and the team is 22-28 and on the outside of the playoff picture as a result. Meanwhile, Rose hasn’t played a minute for the Bulls in 2012-13, yet Chicago is neck-and-neck with the Indiana Pacers for the Central Division lead.
Ironically, the Sixers benefited the most when Rose first got hurt, since his injury in Game 1 of their playoff series last May led to a Philadelphia upset. But Chicago has learned its lesson and managed to play better without Rose this year, whereas Philadelphia has tanked without its own superstar.
Still, the Bulls had the best record in the East last season with Rose, and made the conference finals with him the year before that. While they are still dangerous, the Bulls won’t be a true challenger to the Miami Heat until Rose comes back -- although they couldn’t beat the Heat two years ago when he was healthy.
On the other hand, the Sixers have a struggling, banged up core that hasn’t held down the fort at all in Bynum’s absence. While the Bulls can still win without Rose, albeit not as much as they’d like, the Sixers are still praying for Bynum to save them before it’s too late.