The Philadelphia 76ers have been defined by injury problems all season. Or rather, the Sixers have been defined by one big injury problem in Andrew Bynum. However, Bynum isn’t even the only player the Sixers got in last summer’s trade who has been sidelined by bad knees.
Yet according to the Chicago Tribune on Feb. 21, Jason Richardson had a “successful procedure” done on his left knee. He needed it to be drained on Jan. 18, which all but assured he would miss the rest of the season for the Sixers.
At the least, the Sixers know for a fact that one player with bad knees isn’t coming back until next year. However, the fact still is that the two main players the Sixers acquired in last summer’s blockbuster have let them down, or rather their knees have.
Richardson was brought in from the Orlando Magic for his three-point specialties. But he only averaged over 10 points a game before he had to be sidelined, although he at least played 33 games for Philadelphia first.
When he got shut down, reports were that he would need “6-to-9 months of recovery time.” Bynum’s recovery has gone on for about six months as well, and if it goes on to nine months, he will indeed miss the entire season. This leaves the Sixers uncertain as to whether they can take a chance on him for the long term, especially since he has never played for them yet.
Philadelphia has to decide whether it can trust Bynum’s knees to stay healthy, and it can’t afford to make the wrong decision. Technically, that is the same scenario for Richardson, as the Sixers have to trust that his knee will be completely fine by the next season opener as well.
If Richardson comes back at less than full strength in 2013, it won’t hurt as much as it would if Bynum did the same for the Sixers. However, if both Bynum and Richardson have fully recovered knees and can finally play together next season, the Sixers would have the major inside and outside threats they have been missing so badly this year.
Yet Philadelphia will have to take a massive leap of faith for one or both of these things to happen. The Sixers are still waiting around for Bynum, but they can afford to be more patient with Richardson in the meantime.