Cleveland Cavaliers center Andrew Bynum sat down with the Cleveland Plain-Dealer to discuss his recovery from multiple knee surgeries that have kept him off the court since May of 2012. Good news! Nothing has gone wrong, he's working hard, and everything looks great! Bad news... no schedule for his return. Still.
"I moved here a week after the press conference, I've been here ever since -- day in and day out just working,'' he said, referring to the team's practice facility. "I'm there, focused. I'm doing everything I can do to get back. That's what all this is all about for me right now. I just want to play."
"We've been very impressed with Andrew's work ethic and diligence in this process,'' Grant said. "He's doing everything possible to get back on the court as quickly as he can.''
Notice that Grant did not put a date on Bynum's return. While the team thinks it would be great if he was ready for the start of training camp on Oct. 1, if he doesn't hit that exact date, it doesn't mean he's behind schedule.
"It's a fluid process,'' Bynum said. "I have no idea what the schedule's going to be for me. But I'm doing everything I can to be ready. I think with the program that has been made up, we have a good chance.
"I'm optimistic I'm where I should be. Obviously, I want to be playing. But I'm taking baby steps, doing what the team and the doctors tell me. I'm doing my part. I come to work every day. I'm moving in the right direction.''
Also, Bynum has still not been cleared for full-court basketball. He hasn't played since a 2012 series against the Thunder, missed the entire 2013 season with the Sixers, including a setback due to re-injuring a knee in a bowling accident, and still can't go full court.
The word out of Cleveland has been nothing but positive when it comes to Bynum's work ethic. He's at the gym every day, working hard, and everyone seems to point to that as a good sign. It's hard to argue otherwise. It is a bit surprising that all that hard work hasn't seemed to actually translate to any tangible progress. Everyone can say he looks better and that things look good, but he's still not cleared for full-court basketball. There's got to be some sort of tangible upgrade in his status before I can really buy in that this thing is going to work out. After last year, that seems like the only option.
Additionally, most of this stuff is what we've heard all the time. Professional athletes work really hard to recover from injuries. Bynum certainly seems to be taking this more seriously than he did his time with the Sixers. That makes sense, as only $6 million of his contract is guaranteed next year, a safety valve for the Cavaliers in case he can't go. But all the good talk is both a nice sign and an empty gesture. I'm all for taking the word of executives and trainers when it comes to the progress made, but I'm still left feeling skeptical when there's such an extensive history of that progress never amounting to tangible impact.
But right now, if you take their word for it, there's at least a good chance that Bynum plays opening night. Whether this actually happens or not may depend mostly on where you fall on the glass-half-empty, glass-half-full scale.