Andrew Bynum is back in Philly and expecting to play tomorrow night. Ahead of that he sat down with the media and discussed his current situation, as noted by Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal and Mary Schmidt Boyer of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Sitting in the trainers room, Bynum, described by Jason Lloyd as melancholy, offered up a not so rosy outlook on his current play
"I’m a shell of myself on the court right now, I’m trying.”
Certainly that is plain to see. Whether it be rust or anything else, you can tell that Bynum is nowhere near the athlete he used to be. As far as what he wants to do this season:
"Just being able to play without pain and discover the joy again.... Right now it's just battling pain is annoying. I'm not able to do the things I used to be able to do and it's frustrating"
Currently. Bynum does not like playing basketball, which might be expected I guess. Going from a champion, and an All-Star to 14 minutes a night and a 28% shooter has to be miserable, especially to do so at an age when you should be entering your prime. Continuing on topic of his current shape:
"I still feel sharp pains, like after my dunk [In Milwaukee]. After that I went down from there. Still quite a ways to go. At the moment it's tough to enjoy the game because of how limited I am physically. I'm still sort of working through that."
As someone who is the same age as Bynum and would play basketball daily if he had the time, I really hated hearing that. It just stinks. The following quote though is the one I really don't like, sorry in advance. Bynum was asked what stage he is at in his return:
"I think I'm out of rehab phase, but I missed 567 days or something like that. Still can't jump, slide, or anything. I'm just going out trying to play...My health is my concern. My knees are my knees. They're not going to get better, they are what they are, that's really it."
Immediately after reading that I think of the Minnesota game, after which Bynum said Cavaliers doctors have had him building up all of the muscles around the knee to lessen the stress on the joint, and described this as "a last ride". When asked if he had ever considered retirement:
"It was a thought. It was a serious thought. Still is."
All of that said, Bynum is still expecting to play in Philly tomorrow. Where do we go from here is anyone's guess.
To his questions about Bynum, Mike said that he limited him against Milwaukee because he overextended him the previous game against the Timberwolves. He also said that he has not had any kind of retirement talks with Bynum:
"All I've felt is positive vibes. He's been working his tail off, trying to help his teammates."
Certainly, we all wish Bynum the best and hope that he is able to find what he is looking for, not just for the benefit of the Cavaliers, but because no young man should have to go through this kind of constant physical pain. Here's to hoping that happens sooner rather than later, and he is able to make some real progress.