Andrew Bynum is heading into the most important phase of his rehabilitation, according to 76ers GM Tony DiLeo.
“When he practices, bangs, jumps, moves — that’s really the most critical part,” DiLeo said on the court prior to Wednesday’s game against the Pacers. “We’ll just have to see how he reacts during that phase.”
DiLeo denied that he told reporters he expected Bynum to practice this week and is unsure when Bynum will be able to work out with the team.
“I never said he would practice with us the first week of February,” DiLeo said. “I said he would increase his basketball activities the first week of February. I don’t know where that came from.”
DiLeo was quoted as saying Bynum would practice the “first week of February, probably” in a pregame interview Jan. 28.
Bynum, the star center who has yet to appear in a game this season due to bone bruises in both knees, is progressing with his physical activity, including lateral movement, and basketball drills, but has yet to play 1-on-1.
Bynum has said he thinks it’ll take 10 days to two weeks from the time he begins practicing until he plays in a game.
With Thaddeus Young expected to miss three weeks with a strained left hamstring he suffered Monday and Bynum hoping to play at the end of this month, the Sixers won’t have their full team available at the same time until after the Feb. 21 trade deadline.
As a result, making a deal is a little bit more difficult, according to DiLeo.
“We haven’t seen our team out there yet,” DiLeo said. “It’s hard to really plan because we don’t have all the answers. Hopefully, we’ll have all the answers by the end of the year and be able to go forward.”
On the other hand, the Sixers have several expiring contracts (such as Dorell Wright’s $4.1 million) they could use in a trade.
DiLeo claimed the Sixers aren’t targeting a specific position, but are talking to every team and looking for a deal that would help them in the both short and long term, with the emphasis on the future. And Young’s injury won’t affect how they approach the deadline.
“We don’t want to jeopardize anything short term,” DiLeo said. “We’re looking to build.”