Sixers center Andrew Bynum will miss at least five more weeks because of a bone bruise in his right knee, and may not play in a game until early January.
When Bynum was hurt in mid-September, the team initially hoped its newly acquired star would be ready for the season opener Oct. 31. Late last month, though, the Sixers said he was out indefinitely.
But Bynum says the current timetable for his return has always been part of the original plan.
The Sixers said Monday that the goal was for Bynum to resume “normal basketball activity” around Dec. 10. He would then need 1 to 4 weeks of conditioning and practice before he could play in his first game for the team.
"As far as getting better, I think this is the way I need to handle it," he said. "It's tough. I want to get out there, I want to play. It's just a roller coaster. Obviously, missing games is not good. I want to be out there, I want to be there with my teammates."
Sixers fans are eager to see their team’s major off-season acquisition take the court to prove he is one of the best big men in the league.
"We know that Sixers fans are eager to see Andrew Bynum play and shine in a 76ers uniform," 76ers General Manager Tony DiLeo said in a press release. "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. "
Bynum was allowed to start low-impact exercise after an MRI last week.
The Sixers acquired Bynum from the Lakers in a four-team deal that saw them ship Andre Iguodala to Denver, but he has yet to even practice with them this season.
CSNPhilly.com reports that if Bynum returns at the start of 2013 he will play fewer games than he has averaged in his career.
If all goes as planned -- which has not been the case to this point -- Bynum could return to play his former team in Los Angeles on Jan. 1. That would be the Sixers' 32nd game of the season.
If healthy from that point forward, Bynum could appear in 51 games; he has averaged 56 games per season in his seven-year NBA career.
Bynum, 25, is in the final year of his contact and could sign a five-year deal worth more than $100 million in the offseason, if he's healthy.