New Philadelphia 76ers center Andrew Bynum has barely had time to pack his bags — let alone unpack them — for his cross-country move, but his knees are already making headlines.
John Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Tuesday that the 24-year-old will undergo a “precautionary non-invasive knee procedure” in Germany in September, citing sources. The report does not specify which knee.
Sure, it’s non-invasive, and the word “procedure” has a far better connotation than “surgery” in the sports world. But this is not the kind of news the 76ers and their fans want to hear a mere four days after they acquired Bynum in the blockbuster Dwight Howard trade.
If an NBA player flying to Germany for an experimental procedure sounds familiar, it’s because Bynum’s former teammate, Kobe Bryant, had the same thing done before last year and recommended it to Bynum. New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez and Los Angeles Clippers forward Grant Hill had the same treatment.
As Mitchell reports:
The procedure, known as Orthokine/Regenokine, will be performed by Dr. Peter Wehlin. Bryant initially underwent the procedure to prevent the inevitable wearing down of his knee cartilage. The procedure is a derivation of platelet-rich plasma therapy, or PRP. The procedure, which is not yet performed in the United States, is less invasive than many, if not at all, other forms of knee surgeries presently used.
Bynum has already had surgery on both of his knees during his career, causing him to miss 124 games between the 2007-08 and 2010-11 seasons. But the source told Mitchell that the 7-footer has no current injuries and sought out the procedure in an effort to help prolong his health and career.
Bryant played 70 games for the Lakers last season between the regular and postseason and was a key contributor on the United States’ gold-medal winning team in London.
Will the treatment have a similar effect for Bynum? And will he be ready to go in time for the season? The Sixers sure hope so. Philadelphia gave up star swingman Andre Iguodola and 19-year-old rookie Moe Harkless to land Bynum in the four-team Howard deal and the team views the talented big man as a central building block for its long-term future.
Bynum posted career high averages in both scoring (18.7 points) and rebounding (11.8) last season and was fourth in the NBA in field goal percentage last season at 55.8 percent.