It was May 21, 2012 when Cleveland Cavaliers center Andrew Bynum last played in an NBA game. After nagging knee injuries prevented Bynum from playing a single game for the Philadelphia 76ers during the 2012-13 season, he returned for just under eight minutes during the Cavaliers’ 98-94 victory on their opening night against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday.
At the 3:40 mark of the first quarter, Bynum entered the game to a rousing ovation inside the Quicken Loans Arena. He finished the game with three points, three rebounds and two blocked shots.
Though his time on the floor was limited due to precautionary measures by Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown, Bynum offered Cleveland fans a glimpse of what he is capable of—a seven-foot, 285-pound intimidator who can alter shots, snatch rebounds and use his size to score over defenders.
"It was kind of like riding a bike because I've been in the league for so long,” said Bynum following the game. “I felt really good and ran as fast as I ever have on the court. My timing is off and that's to be expected, but I feel like it's going to come back pretty quickly."
It’s a positive sign for the Cavaliers, especially if the 26-year-old center can shed his oft-injured label and stay healthy this season. If so, he’ll be the perfect complementary piece to young guns like Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson, which can help propel Cleveland into playoff contention.