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Tue, 30 Oct 2012 02:30 AM EDT

Andrew Bynum did nothing more at 76ers practice than receive some slaps on the back.

His teammates tried to cheer up the center with an easy message: Hang in there.

Bynum wanted so much more out of the day he was expecting to practice for the first time with his new team. Bynum stayed sidelined with right knee pain and is a long shot to play in the Oct. 31 opener.

His debut is on hold and no one knows when Bynum will return. He is going to continue to be held out of all basketball activity till he’s pain free from a bone bruise he suffered during an offseason workout. The Philadelphia 76ers had pegged as their franchise player’s potential return date after a 3-week layoff that cost him the entire preseason slate. Instead, Bynum was on the sidelines while the rest of the Sixers practiced and scrimmaged. Football betting lines

DiLeo recounted every day Bynum is out increases the likelihood the All-Star center won’t be prepared for the opener.

Bynum says he wants to be careful with his return and won’t play until he’s pain free. He was given an injection of Synvisc — a gel-like substance that sometimes offers relief for inflamed tissue. The natural substance is intended to lubricate and cushion the joint.

Bynum will then work his way back into low-impact exercises after a couple of days of rest following the injection.

“We just have to talk to Andrew every day and see how he’s feeling,” DiLeo said. “When he is pain free, that’s when he’s going to start basketball activities.”

Nobody, from DiLeo to Bynum, cared to predict just how much more time Bynum will miss. But with the opener against Denver on the horizon, and Bynum yet to practice, the Sixers are prepared to go with Lavoy Allen at center.

Bynum failed to sound convincing when he announced “there’s a likelihood” he could be in the lineup against Denver. He conceded the ultimate decision is up to the Philadelphia 76ers. He won’t rush back for the 1st week and risk injuring the knee to the point at which he’ll miss serious chunks of time later on in the season.

With a history of knee injuries already behind him, Bynum asserted he feels no pain when he walks, just during exercise. DiLeo said rest should help heal the bruise and the injury was not a “recurring issue.”

Bynum is coming off his best NBA season after averaging career highs with 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds while making his first All-Star team, starting for the West. He was the NBA’s 3rd-leading rebounder and 20th-leading scorer, while also ranking 6th in the league with 1.93 blocked shots per game. The Sixers bought him from L. A. in a 4-team deal.

Bynum has been quietly absorbing up coach Doug Collins’ system from the sideline.

“I think he has got a good handle on our staff and what each guy does well and stuff,” Collins announced. “I think it’s important, particularly as a big guy — when you’re playing in that post — to know the guys you’re playing with.”

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