By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Amidst various reports concerning the condition and treatment of Sixers’ center Andrew Bynum’s knees, the Sixers have attempted to give some insight.
From the Sixers:
Philadelphia 76ers center Andrew Bynum will continue with conditioning drills as part of a previously announced precautionary measure related to the Orthokine treatment he received on September 15, 2012.
Bynum will also receive a Synvisc injection in his right knee from Dr. David Altchek of the Hospital of Special Surgery on Monday, October 22, 2012. The injection of Synvisc – a natural substance that lubricates and cushions the joint – has been a routine procedure for Bynum during the previous two seasons and is unrelated to the bone bruise of the medial femoral chondyle of his right knee.
Following the injection, Bynum will be examined by Dr. Jack McPhilemy of Main Line Health and the team will provide additional updates as they are available and appropriate.
Then, early Tuesday morning, Sixers CEO Adam Aron issued the following updates on Twitter:
If all goes to plan, he’s back Oct 24. But we won’t know how the knee feels for sure until, no surprise, Oct 24.
While conditioning in Sept, unrelated to German procedure, he got a bone bruise which we transparently announced.
From there, he has to get into game shape. That is everything Sixers know. The rest of the loose talk is guessing.
So, relax everybody. We have ourselves a great talent in Andrew Bynum. Going to be very exciting to watch him play.
The only slight difference in what Aron said and what had previously been announced was that Bynum got the bone bruise while conditioning in September. The Sixers did announce that Bynum had the bruise, but nowhere in their original release did it state that he got the bruise while conditioning in September.
The original release on October 1st:
The Philadelphia 76ers announced today that the team will take precautionary measures with center Andrew Bynum and will withhold him from basketball activities for the next three weeks in order to maximize the therapeutic effects of the Orthokine therapy he received earlier this month.
Bynum was examined by Dr. Jack McPhilemy of Main Line Health and was diagnosed with a bone bruise of the medial femoral chondyle of his right knee. During the aforementioned time frame, Bynum will continue participate in low impact conditioning drills.
The team will provide additional updates as they are available and appropriate.
The injection that Bynum will receive, Synvisc, is often used to treat osteoarthritis of the knee. Whereas cortisone is meant to work quickly be eliminating inflammation, Synvisc is a much thicker substance, used to lubricate joints over a long period of time, providing relief that can last several months. People who use Synvisc and find it helpful, often get injections every six months. Though it’s most often used in the knee, Synvisc is also injected into other joints, such as the hip, to provide relief.
The potential concern here is that osteoarthritis is a chronic condition, and how treatable it is, and how quickly it advances, depends on the person. Bynum’s previous knee concerns had been generally specific knee injuries; a dislocated kneecap in 2008, a knee sprain and torn MCL in 2009, a meniscus tear in 2010, and a hyper-extended knee as well as a knee bruise in 2011. Bynum was healthy for the 2011-12 season.
Whether or not the Sixers, or fans should be concerned, is of course subjective. Everyone knew Bynum’s knee injury history before the trade from the Lakers, but he did pass a physical in August before the trade was completed. Bynum was clear as far back as May that he planned on going to Germany for the Orthokine treatment, and was clear at the time of the trade when that would happen. What wasn’t particularly clear (at least outside of the organization) was that Bynum would miss most of the preseason due to the treatment, which was announced October 1st, or than Bynum was to receive the Synvisc injection, which came to light on Sunday.
Bynum can be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. The Sixers can offer him up to a three year extension now, or wait until the end of the season and offer him a five-year maximum contract, whereas other teams can only offer him a four year deal.