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Andrew Bynum injury update: 76ers center discusses timeline for return

Andrew Bynum will receive MRIs Dec. 20, another delay in his potential return. The center admitted there's cartilage missing in his left knee, an issue that could trouble the frequently injured center his entire career.

Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Andrew Bynum says he intends on playing for the Philadelphia 76ers this season, although he admitted it was a possibility his doctors feel his left knee won't allow him to play this year.

After several setbacks, doctors had decided that Dec. 10 would be the date for his return to basketball activities. That was Monday, and Bynum is not near practicing yet. Instead, he'll undergo further MRIs and testing Dec. 20 to see how the knees are coming.

It's the left knee -- the one he reinjured bowling a few weeks back -- that is still an issue. Bynum reports experiencing pain in the knee daily.

"I feel pain walking around, so it’d be silly to go out and start playing basketball right away (once cleared) because it’s just going to get worse," Bynum said, noting that the swelling in his right knee is gone.

The center said he'd be able to play if the 76ers were in the NBA Finals, but that he wasn't willing to risk further injury at this point in the season. He estimated being in his current state for another month after the next MRIs as a worst-case scenario.

Most worrisome about Bynum's injury to Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo! Sports was the big man's admission that there's cartilage missing in his left knee, a previously undisclosed piece of information. Bynum said that the cartilage is "not going to regrow itself," which as Dwyer notes, is completely true: cartilage can't really be regrown or really replaced, as Brandon Roy's career arc shows. It's possible the big man could be hampered by bones in his leg rubbing together whenever he plays for his entire career.

The Sixers are 12-9 in Bynum's absence, a surprisingly good result considering they're without the player they acquired in a blockbuster trade this offseason, but the issues with his knees are troubling in the long-term.