Some doubted that Andrew Bynum would even step on the court this season, but the Cleveland Cavaliers center has already answered that question. Many questions still remain, though, particularly in Philadelphia. It's no secret that 76ers fans are angry at the center whose knees prevented him from suiting up for their team last season.
The Cavaliers play the Sixers on Friday and Bynum is sure to be booed. After their practice on Thursday, the big man met with the media and said he's not concerned about that. He also said that he worried he wouldn't play professional basketball again, via the Delaware County Daily Times' Chris Vito:
Were you ever worried that the injury was career-threatening?
"Yeah. It's still career-threatening. I'm a shell of myself right now on the court. I'm just struggling mentally. I'm trying."
Did you consider retiring?
"Yeah, it was a thought. It's a serious thought. It still is. It's tough to enjoy the game because of how I am physically. I'm certain I'll work through that."
Pretty sad all around, and it gets worse. You might have seen Bynum altering shots on defense and scoring on the inside in his four appearances for Cleveland, but that version of Bynum is nothing like the one we saw a couple of years ago. Just being able to give what he's giving in short bursts is far from easy at this point.
Based on that introductory press conference, do you have a sense why fans would be frustrated?
"I really don't care. My health is my concern. My knees are my knees. They're not going to get better. They are what they are. And that's really it."
Did sitting out for a year help at all?
"I still feel sharp pains. After my dunk (Wednesday), after that, it went down from there. I still have a ways to go."
What's your goal?
"To be able to play without pain, and to discover the joy again."
Read the full transcript and you'll get a picture of a man understandably frustrated with the fact his body has failed him. He turned 26 less than two weeks ago, and made the All-NBA Second Team in 2012. Now he's just trying to contribute off the bench and he's severely limited, unsure of how effective he'll ever be. While some are talking about his return to Philadelphia and how the fans will react, Bynum is simply trying to stay focused mentally and stay on the court.