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76ers C Bynum hopeful of return from knee trouble

76ers C Bynum hopeful of return from knee trouble

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Andrew Bynum still has pain in his left knee that has kept him from making his debut with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Bynum is in pain when he walks or attempts even light physical activity, except for swimming. He had been recovering from a bone bruise in his right knee and injured his left knee while bowling last month.

The 7-foot center will have his knees examined again Dec. 20th and did not know if he'd need an MRI.

``Worst case scenario, it's another month,'' he said Monday night. ``Best case scenario, I can ramp it up.''

Bynum has not or practiced or played for the Sixers since he was acquired in the offseason from the Los Angeles Lakers. Bynum said his right knee has improved to the point where he might have been able to play. He was again listed as inactive for Philadelphia's game against Detroit with ``bilateral bone bruises.''

``There's nothing I can do about it,'' he said. ``It's arthritis in the knees. Cartilage is missing. That's not going to regrow itself. Maybe in the future, next three to five years, there may be something out there that really does help. Right now, it's kind of a waiting game.''

Bynum, 25, is in the final year of his contract and could sign a five-year deal worth more than $100 million in the offseason, if he's healthy. But his uncertain status could be costing the All-Star millions.

Bynum won two NBA titles in seven seasons with the Lakers. The Sixers were hoping he could help them become one of the league's elite teams.

He has tried not to think about the fact he might never play for the Sixers.

``I really think I'll be fine,'' he said. ``If my left knee gets better, and feels like my right, I'll be playing.''

Bynum announced in May, while still a member of the Lakers, that he was going to Germany in September for the Orthokine blood-spinning treatment in his knees that other professional athletes have sought. The Sixers announced before training camp that Bynum needed to delay his return to allow the effects of the Orthokine treatment to work.

The bone bruise in his right knee caused the Sixers to push the return date from training camp to the regular season and now possibly to midseason.

But the Sixers are still looking long term with Bynum, who's in the last year of his contract.

Bynum said the Sixers haven't really put pressure on him to return.

``I think initially,'' he said, ``but then I realized more of the pressure was coming from myself. I just had to kind of relax a little bit and let this time pass.''

If Bynum is cleared to resume basketball activity on the 20th, he said he wouldn't need much time before he played in a game. He's become a devoted swimmer and credited that to keeping him in shape. It's one of the few activities that doesn't cause Bynum pain.

``It's not getting worse. It's just continuous pain,'' he said. ``I just think the bone bruise has to heal. It's a mirror image of my right knee. My right knee took four months. I think we're a little bit ahead of the curve.''

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Follow Dan Gelston at www.twitter.com/APGelston

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Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

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NBC Sports Washington

Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

CHICAGO—Four fans were ejected from United Center on Saturday night for taunting Devante Smith-Pelly as the Capitals’ winger sat in the penalty box.

The fans, according to a team spokesman, yelled “basketball, basketball, basketball” at Smith-Pelly, who is black. Smith-Pelly was in the box for fighting in the third period of an eventual 7-1 loss to the Blackhawks.

The taunts were confirmed by an off-ice official, the spokesman said, and the fans were subsequently removed from the arena.

Smith-Pelly did not speak with reporters after the game but is expected to address the incident at the team’s next media availability. The team is scheduled to practice Sunday at KeyBank Center in Buffalo.

Caps Coach Barry Trotz did not hold back when asked about the fans' comments.

“There’s absolutely no place in the game of hockey or our country for racism,” Trotz said. “I think it’s disgusting, and there’s no place for it. …It just shows ignorance.”

The Blackhawks responded on Twitter with an apology to Smith-Pelly, who is one of roughly 30 black players in the NHL.

February is Hockey is For Everyone month in the NHL.

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3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

Just about everything that could go wrong did for the Capitals on Saturday in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Caps were coming off a strong 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, but none of that carried over in the trip to Chicago. The Caps took on a Blackhawks team that had lost eight in a row, but Chicago quickly took control in the first period and never looked back.

Washington gave up 21 shots on goal in the first period and found themselves down 3-1 after the opening frame. Things did not get much better from there as they gave up another three goals in the final four minutes of the second.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Jonathan Toews: Toews opened up the scoring in the first period with a quick shot from the corner that caught Braden Holtby by surprise.

Later in the first, he recorded an assist as his pass sparked a breakout that led to Brandon Saad's deal that gave Chicago back the lead. The Caps tried to make a game of it in the second period, but Toews intercepted a pass from Brooks Orpik that led to a 2-on-0 with himself and Patrick Kane that Kane netted to give the Blackhawks a 4-1 lead and signaled to everyone that the rout was on. Saturday was only the second three-point night of the season for Toews.

2. Patrick Kane: Toews helped the Blackhawks take control early, but Kane helped provide the knockout punches in the second period. A bad pass from Orpik was intercepted by Toews that led to a 2-on-0 with Kane. Holtby made the initial save on Toews, but Kane was able to knock in the rebound for the goal.

Kane also added an assist on Artem Anisimov's power play goal which extended Chicago's lead to 6-1.

3. Tom Wilson: Before this one got out of hand, it looked like Wilson had erased the tough start for the Caps as he deflected a shot from Matt Niskanen into the net to get Washington on the board.

Saturday's tally was his third goal in two games and his 10th of the season, marking the first time in his career he has reached double digits in goals.