4:15pm: The Sixers and Bynum are considering arthroscopic surgery on Bynum's right knee to clear out loose cartilage, sources tell John Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The procedure would almost certainly end the center's season.
12:53pm: Although he has yet to make his debut with the Sixers, Andrew Bynum still hoped to play about 15-20 games this season. However, after beginning to practice with the team recently, Bynum has experienced swelling in his troublesome knee, as John Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports (via Twitter).
Speaking to reporters today, Bynum confirmed the swelling in his knee, and said that he doesn't want to return to the court if he's still in pain, tweets Dei Lynam of CSN Philly. According to Bynum, not playing this year is something he's thinking about, since his long-term health is the priority (Twitter links via Tom Moore of PhillyBurbs.com).
While the news of Bynum's latest setback perhaps isn't surprising, it's unfortunate for the 76ers and for Bynum, as he prepares to become an unrestricted free agent. As I outlined last year, the 25-year-old will be eligible for a maximum-contract offer of $101MM+ (from the Sixers) or $75MM+ (from another team), but if he doesn't see the floor this season, bidding is unlikely to start nearly that high.
Meanwhile, the Sixers, who expected to re-sign Bynum in free agency this summer, have little to show for last August's blockbuster that brought the former Laker to town. Given the major questions surrounding Bynum's knees, an expensive, long-term contract offer this summer could simply exacerbate the team's current problems.