NCAA

Injured 76ers center Bynum vows return this season

Injured 76ers center Bynum vows return this season

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Andrew Bynum's debut with the Philadelphia 76ers has been pushed back more times than the start of the NHL season.

Yet to even practice this season, the injured All-Star vowed to return from the bone bruises that have sidelined him.

``I'm confident I'll be on the court this season,'' he said Friday night.

When? Well, no one from Bynum to his doctor seem to know, even after an encouraging exam Thursday that will let the 7-foot center being a six-step rehabilitation process. Bynum can start low-impact exercises like riding a stationary bike as the first step of his rehab.

There is no date for a return. The All-Star center was acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers in a four-team trade before the season.

``The bone bruises are healed and the swelling is gone, so those two things are great,'' Bynum said. ``We're just waiting for mechanical issues to be resolved, and that's going to take anywhere from a month to two. I have no idea, but we're going to work toward grinding it out so it's not causing me any problems.''

Bynum said his right knee feels fine and there's still some pain in his left knee.

The 25-year-old center 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.

``The doctors are taking their time because I want to play for another 10, 12 years, and not two,'' Bynum said. ``So I think the biggest thing here is to take our time and get it done right.''

He 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.

Without a legitimate big man in the middle, the Sixers have stumbled, and lost five straight games heading into Friday's game against Atlanta.

``He's on the last year of his deal, he's got to get himself healthy to play,'' coach Doug Collins said. ``There's a lot at stake for him and the organization.''

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. The Sixers said in early November the goal was for Bynum to resume ``normal basketball activity'' around Dec. 10. He would then need 1-to-4 weeks of conditioning and practice before he can play in his first game for the 76ers.

That plan was quickly scrapped after he injured his left knee bowling last month.

The exam on Thursday showed Bynum's weakened cartilage hasn't gotten worse. Bynum said the potential of surgery is off the table.

Sixers general manger Tony DiLeo said the best-case scenario all depended on how Bynum's knees reacted to the increased exercise.

``This is good news,'' DiLeo said. ``We can move ahead to the next phase of his rehab. This isn't something where the doctor says he has to rest.''

Bynum was 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 third-leading rebounder and 20th-leading scorer, while also ranking sixth in the league with 1.93 blocked shots per game.

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Follow Dan Gelston at www.twitter.com/APGelston

Virginia snaps 3-game losing streak with 63-58 win over Georgia Tech

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USA Today Sports Images

Virginia snaps 3-game losing streak with 63-58 win over Georgia Tech

ATLANTA (AP) -- Jay Huff and Mamadi Diakite scored 17 points apiece as defending national champion Virginia snapped a three-game losing streak with a 63-58 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday night.

The Cavaliers (12-5, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) finally regained their winning touch after dropping out of The Associated Press ranking for the first time since November 2017.

Georgia Tech (8-10, 3-5) lost its fourth straight home game. The Yellow Jackets haven't won at McCamish Pavilion since a Dec. 4 victory over Nebraska. 

Diakite's dunk with 14:47 remaining gave Virginia its biggest lead, 43-29.

The Cavaliers were still up 48-37 with just over 10 minutes to go when Georgia Tech suddenly came to life offensively.

The Yellow Jackets scored on four of five possessions, stringing together a 9-0 run that cut Virginia's edge to 48-46.

That was as close as Georgia Tech would get.

Huff, a 7-foot-1 center, knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key to thwart Georgia Tech's momentum. A few minutes later, he swished another open jumper to make it 55-48. 

Georgia Tech got a basket and a defensive stop, but Braxton Key swooped on for an offensive rebound to give the Cavaliers a second chance. With just over 2 minutes to go, Diakite was left open on the wing for a jumper that made it 57-50, effectively finishing off the Yellow Jackets.

Jose Alvarado paced Georgia Tech with 20 points.

Virginia led 33-25 at halftime, taking advantage of the home team's sloppy play. The Yellow Jackets hit 11 of 18 shots (61.1%) but turned it over 13 times, wasting far too many possessions against the defensive-minded Cavaliers.

BIG PICTURE

Virginia: The Cavaliers picked up a desperately needed victory to avoid their longest losing streak since a four-game skid from Feb. 12-20, 2017. While still a far cry from their national championship squad, Virginia showed some offensive efficiency to go along with its always-tenacious defense. Key chipped in with 10 points. 

Georgia Tech: This is shaping up to be another disappointing season, raising more doubts about whether coach Josh Pastner can turn around a program that is approaching a decade since its last NCAA Tournament appearance. The Yellow Jackets continue to show flashes of promise, but Pastner has been unable to develop any sort of consistency in his fourth season. 

UP NEXT

Virginia: Returns home to play North Carolina State on Monday night. 

Georgia Tech: Hits the road for the first of two meetings against No. 11 Louisville. The teams will meet again in Atlanta on March 7, the final game of the regular season. 

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Capitals hosting Rock The Rink skate and watch parties around DMV

Capitals hosting Rock The Rink skate and watch parties around DMV

The Capitals may not be participating in Stadium Series this year, but the team is embracing outdoor hockey around Washington for spirited game day fun.

The Caps are hosting Rock The Rink skates at The Wharf, Penatgon Row, Rockville Town Square and The Avenue at White Marsh on select game days from January to March 2020. Fans attending these events can wear Capitals jerseys or gear to get either $5 off admission or free skate rentals.

The Wharf

Jan. 18 at 1 p.m., Jan. 31 at 6 p.m., and Feb 17. at 1 p.m.

Transit Pier will boast a Capitals-paneled ice rink with an ice resurfacer, trivia contests, giveaways, along with a DJ. The Capitals Campire will also boast Adirondack chairs around a fire to roast marshmallows for smores in front of a 14-foot jumbotron screen to watch the Capitals games. 

Pentagon Row

Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. and March 9 at 6 p.m.

These skates will feature Slapshot, giveaways, a DJ and Capitals-centic specials at local restaurants. The Caps games will also be on at surrounding bars. 

The Avenue at White March

Feb. 7 at 6 p.m.

This event will feature Slapshot, giveaways, a DJ and Capitals-centic specials at local restaurants.

Rockville Town Square

Jan. 31 at 5:30 p.m. and March 5 at 6 p.m.

In addition to the above fun, Rockville native and Capitals hockey ambassador Haley Skarupa will be there on Jan. 31. You can watch the Capitals game at local bars as well. 

Fans attending these events or using local outdoor rinks this season are encouraged to post about it on social media by tagging @capitals and using the hashtag #RockTheRink to enter themselves for a chance to win prizes.

Caps slept through the first 40 minutes, they did not give Holtby much help though he was bad in his own right and Vrana sure did show something with the game-winning goal.

As for no penalties...not so much.

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