The Philadephia 76ers say that Andrew Bynum is scheduled to return to basketball activity for the team on Dec. 10, but that he might not actually make his debut for the team until January.
The team released a statement saying that the 25-year-old center received an MRI last Monday, where Bynum's longtime personal doctor extended his return date by three additional weeks. The bone bruise, initially suffered in September, was supposed to keep him out four weeks, but has since been pushed back several times. From the release:
If the current prognosis holds unchanged, Bynum would be cleared to resume normal basketball activity by approximately December 10. In addition, the team estimates that Bynum in turn will need an additional 1-4 weeks thereafter for conditioning, training and practice before being able to resume game play with significant minutes.
Bynum is cleared to begin "low impact exercise" immediately, and will continue for two weeks before beginning conditioning work on an anti-gravity treadmill. After three weeks of that, he'll be re-examined, and if cleared, will be able to practice with the team. At that point, it will apparently be on the coaching staff and not doctors to determine whether Bynum is fit and ready enough to play starter's minutes.
In Bynum's absence, Lavoy Allen and Spencer Hawes are playing passably at the center spot with the team off to a 4-2 start.
The Sixers are being understandably cautious with the team's new centerpiece, acquired in the offseason as part of the Dwight Howard trade. He has yet to play or practice with the team after a series of setbacks with the knee, which also received a procedure in Germany in August and took apparently routine injections in October.