The Philadelphia 76ers have had a big decision stare at them in the face for weeks. Should the Sixers keep hoping that Andrew Bynum will return and lead a playoff run at the last minute, or shut him down themselves and look ahead to next year? Yet it appears that the decision may be taken out of their hands after all.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer on March 2, the Sixers and Bynum are finally considering surgery to clear out loose cartilage in his right knee, which should end any hopes for a comeback this season. They had little choice after Bynum revealed on March 1 that he had “a four-to-five day setback” just from playing in a scrimmage.
Bynum appeared resigned that day to the possibility of never playing this season, although he said he still thinks he can play. But he acknowledged “the season is short” now, and it also appears lost for the Sixers with their current 22-34 record and seven-game losing streak.
With the rest of the Sixers collapsing and being called out by Doug Collins, there isn’t much left that Bynum can do for them even if he is healthy. Of course, it could always make Philadelphia more desperate to bring Bynum back, end the season on a high note and help decide whether to give him a long-term deal this summer.
Those were the only reasons to consider letting Bynum play, even when all the other evidence suggested there was no point. Yet with his latest setback and the possibility that his knees will never be healthy, even the Sixers can’t avoid reality anymore.
ESPN’s Skip Bayless -- a long time Bynum supporter -- also Tweeted on March 1 that Bynum’s knees are “degenerative” and won’t get better, according to a “reliable source.” The events of the last few days have appeared to back him up, as Bynum's knees seem much more fragile than they were months ago when his recovery started.
By now, the low likelihood of Bynum playing this season or ever playing for the Sixers is a given. Now his entire career is in question, whether he continues it in Philadelphia or not. That more than anything is what Bynum may be trying to save now, with the Sixers and their season as afterthoughts.