- Brian Windhorst, ESPN.com
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PHILADELPHIA -- Andrew Bynum practiced Friday with the Philadelphia 76ers for the first time since they traded for him last August. But instead of it being a positive moment, it only seemed to depress coach Doug Collins.
Speaking before the 76ers hosted the Miami Heat on Saturday night, Collins said Bynum's brief 5-on-5 workout only showed how far away he is from being able to play, and hinted at just what a lost season this has been for the team.
"He looked like a guy who hadn't played in nine months," Collins said. "I don't think any bells and whistles should be sent off that he's close to playing."
Bynum has been giving weekly updates on the condition of his knees, though he's often offered contradictory information. His return date from bone bruises in both knees has constantly been pushed back.
"I'll definitely be back sometime this year," Bynum said earlier this week. "I'm focused on getting back and being right versus trying to rush."
The recent hope that Bynum could return around the All-Star break was the latest to be dashed for the 76ers, who have been decimated by injuries this season. Jason Richardson, who was acquired with Bynum in a blockbuster offseason deal, had knee surgery this week and is expected to miss six to nine months.
Collins said watching Bynum go through a little practice only left him disappointed considering just how much the team's big plans have been ruined by Bynum's constant knee issues.
"It's amazing seeing him standing out there; he distorted the whole practice," Collins said. "You get visions of what might've been ... He's said that he's going to play, but this season is slipping away. We've got 24 games after (this weekend). We're eight (games) under .500, and we've got to play the Miami Heat four times."
During the offseason, the Sixers agreed to let Bynum's New York-based doctor lead the treatment on his knees, a decision that surprised executives around the league. The team mostly has let Bynum announce progress and setbacks, of which there have been many since October.
Bynum played in 60-of-66 games last season with the Lakers, which led the Sixers to believe he'd be healthy this season after the major trade. But a procedure in Germany aimed at helping his knees, followed by a setback after a night of bowling, has knocked Bynum out for the entire season thus far.
Collins said Bynum would inform them of any future updates, as he has during the entire process.
"You should talk to him," Collins said. "I don't want to be the messenger because they shoot messengers."
4dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann