According to a tweet from Philadelphia Inquire Sixers beat writer John Mitchell, citing NBA league sources, Andrew Bynum could be make his debut for the team before the all-star break.

"We're hoping for the first of February for practice," GM Tony DiLeo said.

(Listen to Sixers beat writer Bob Booney on the Sports Bash discussing Andrew Bynum)

Bynum could return to full practice by the end of the week, and the Sixers are hopeful he'll be able to play in at least one game before the All-Star break.

League source: Bynum could be back before All-Star break

After Sixers practice on Monday, Bynum said he feels as though his rehab is ahead of schedule, but he doesn't anticipate playing before the All-Star break.

“I'm a little bit farther ahead. I honestly believe that. Earlier, before I started getting better, I thought I'd have to play through a lot of pain, but the pain is subsiding a bit, which is good.”

Mitchell also tweeted that Bynum is starting to move laterally, planting and working every day after his teammates are gone.

Bynum has said that he's targeting a return around the All-Star break, but the fact that he hadn't done any lateral movement as of Monday and had been limited to just treadmill and on-court shooting was a cause for concern.

Now it seems that Bynum is progressing more and more each and everyday and it could be coming at a perfect time for the Sixers and their playoff hopes.  With Rajon Rondo's season is over in Boston thanks to a torn ACL - the Sixers can see an opportunity to grab the eighth spot in the eastern conference.

The question is, will Bynum be in good enough shape to help the Sixers right away or will it take some time for him to fit in with his new teammates.  Currently, the Sixers look like they are committed to using Spencer Hawes and Nick Young now in the starting line-up and bringing LaVoy Allen and Jason Richardson off-the-bench.

So when (if) Bynum returns, you would presume he would immediately enter the starting five, giving the Sixers two legitimate all-stars in their line-up.  Could the debut of Bynum be enough to get the Sixers into the playoffs and can the return of Bynum more importantly get them out of that dreaded eighth spot - the sooner he gets back, the better the chances are of that happening.