The last time the Sixers made a big splash, they bought damaged goods in the form of Elton Brand. Andrew Bynum's knee issues are bringing feelings of déjà vu.
With the season opener three weeks away, Bynum is sitting out practice due to a bone bruise in his knee. The injury was discovered shortly after Bynum returned from Germany, where he underwent a procedure called Orthokine.
In a vacuum, a simple bone bruise wouldn't be much to worry about, according to Brian Eckenrode, assistant professor of physical therapy at Arcadia University.
"There's micro-damage into the cartilage and bone of the knee joint," Eckenrode said, noting he hasn't personally examined Bynum. "There is pain from abnormal compression of the joint surfaces, but it's not debilitating. Bone bruises can occur from ligament tears in the knee because the injury pattern results in bones of the knee bumping up against each other. They can also occur from repetitive compressive forces such as running and jumping."
Bynum does have a history, which means the bone bruise isn't in a vacuum. He tore his right MCL in 2009 and needed further surgery on that knee after the 2010 season.
"Knowing he's got a history, looking at the overall picture, I'd wonder if he is doing something abnormal when he's jumping that's predisposing him to these things," Eckenrode said.
Eckenrode doesn't believe the platelet injection Bynum received in Germany caused the bone bruise. It will likely clear up, but it does cloud the long-term situation.
The Sixers can offer Bynum a three-year, $60 million contract extension on Feb. 10. If they wait until after the season, a max deal would be worth five years and $100 million. It's a lot of coin and cap space for a guy whose knees are an issue.
Byum said Mondaythat he expects to play in the season opener (Oct. 31) against Denver.
Byum has been studying DVDs of recent practices to learn the offense.