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Andrew Bynum injury: Sixers center doing more work in preparation of return

Injured Sixers center Andrew Bynum is putting in more and more work each day as he gets closer to a return. Bynum hopes to be back sometime around the All-Star Break.

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers have been patiently waiting for the return of prized offseason pickup Andrew Bynum from a knee injury. That wait may finally be nearing its end.

Bynum is doing more and more work each day, and according to Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News, ran "as hard as any media has seen him so far" on an anti-gravity treadmill on Sunday. On Friday, Bynum was on the court working on low post spin moves and testing his knees with hard plants and cuts.

Sixers associate head coach Michael Curry was certainly excited to talk about the impending return of the big man:

"We were talking about Andrew (Saturday) night where people have to understand that you totally change the personnel that you've got to play when he's on the court and you totally change how you are going to have to guard. You're not going to trap Jrue (Holiday) if Andrew is in the pick and roll and he (Bynum) rolls you can't just have a man pick him up.

"It's encouraging as Andrew is doing more and more work. Just watching when Jrue has struggled or Evan (Turner) has struggled, just watching how teams have defended them. And they're doing exactly what you should do. But when you have a great player or a big guy who demands a lot of attention around that basket you have to defend totally different."

Philadelphia has really struggled with Bynum on the shelf all year, sporting just an 18-25 record. The offense has been especially bad, as it ranks 26th in the NBA in scoring and is tied for 25th in offensive efficiency. There's no legitimate low post presence in the lineup with Bynum sidelined, and the Sixers' offense has often had to rely on inefficient long jumpers. That's usually not a good recipe for success.

Getting Bynum back and keeping him healthy is of the utmost importance for the Sixers if they want to make a run at the postseason. The plans seems to be to get him back sometime around the All-Star Break, although whether it's before or after seems to be up in in air. The good news for Philadelphia is that it is just 2½ games behind the Boston Celtics for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and the Celtics are in a bit of turmoil thanks to the Rajon Rondo ACL injury.