76ers fans will have to wait at least a few more weeks before the team's major offseason acquisition makes his Philadelphia debut. The Sixers sent out a press release today indicating that Andrew Bynum isn't expected to be cleared to resume "normal basketball activity" until approximately December 10th. At that point, he would require an additional one to four weeks of conditioning, training, and practice before he could appear in a game.
"We know that Sixers fans are eager to see Andrew Bynum play and shine in a 76ers uniform," said Sixers GM Tony DiLeo in a statement. "We also know that no one is more eager to see Andrew play for the Sixers than Andrew himself. He fully realizes the key contribution he can make to the team. Hopefully, that day is coming soon."
In addition to having a significant impact on Philadelphia's on-court performance and playoff hopes, the health of Bynum's right knee could be a major factor in his free agency next summer. It was widely assumed that the Sixers and other teams would attempt to lock up the young center with maximum-salary offers, but if the knee is a lingering issue all season, it may give some clubs pause next July.