The Philadelphia 76ers have moved back the date for Andrew Bynum’s debut time and time again. As such, when the Sixers began to believe that Bynum would return by the end of the month, they perhaps should have known better. Yet the Sixers braced themselves for disappointment again as Bynum suffered another setback on Feb. 11, according to The SportsXchange.
Bynum claimed that he “experienced a lot of pain” on his fragile left knee after two straight days of workouts. Although he also insisted that it wasn’t a setback, it is now very unlucky that he will play at the end of February, as originally anticipated.
This is nothing new for the Sixers, as it has been the status quo ever since they acquired Bynum from the Los Angeles Lakers. His absence was felt even worse on Feb. 11, as the Los Angeles Clippers had their way with the Sixers and beat them by 107-90.
The Clippers drained shots and made highlight reel dunks all night, which might not have happened if the Sixers had a real inside presence. Philadelphia is lacking a lot this season, without the likes of Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams around for support. But having a true superstar for the first time since the Allen Iverson era was supposed to make it all worth it.
Instead, the more delays Bynum has, the more questionable it is that he will ever put on a Sixers uniform. Philadelphia will have to sign him to a new multi-million contract this offseason, or trade him if he is no longer worth the risk, money or commitment. If he never takes the court this season, it will be that much harder to decide whether to commit to him, if it isn’t already.
In the short term, having less time with Bynum this season makes the Sixers’ playoff hunt that much harder. The loss to Los Angeles kept Philadelphia three games back of the final playoff seed, with only 32 games left to go this year.
The Sixers can try to stay in range and hope Bynum will put them over the top for the last 10-20 games of the season. But that strategy has been a massive failure throughout the year, so hoping for it to pay off now could be too much to ask for.