Philadelphia News & Search
Sixers, Embiid Reach Decision on Knee Treatment
Prior to Wednesday’s game at Chesapeake Energy Arena, the 76ers made the following announcement regarding Joel Embiid:
“After careful consideration and consultation with medical experts and specialists, Joel Embiid will undergo surgery on his left knee in the coming days. We’ll have more information at the conclusion of the procedure.”
The purpose of the surgery will be to address the meniscus tear in Embiid’s left knee.
Discussing the subject during his pre-game media availability, Brett Brown said the situation is currently going according to plan, and that the course of action taken by the organization is a reflection of the mutual due diligence and research conducted by the team and Embiid alike.
Brown further praised both parties for showing patience in recent weeks, as opinions were being formed about how to best proceed with the big man.
Brown said he hasn’t been surprised by the resiliency Embiid has displayed while dealing with his latest injury.
“It’s how he’s wired,” Brown said of Embiid, who was sidelined for his first two professional seasons due to separate right foot operations.
In 31 appearances this season, Embiid averaged 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 2.5 blocks in a mere 25.4 minutes per game. Before his final outing, a 32-point effort January 27th versus Houston, the 23-year old had claimed all three Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month honors. He was widely considered the front-runner for the NBA’s 2017 Rookie of the Year award.
“The limited time that we saw him on the court is a snapshot to him as a person,” said Brown. “It does mirror lots of the human qualities that he possesses. He’s confident. He is very much an aggressor. He’s so competitive and confident I feel like he’ll deal with this, he’ll handle this, and he and we will move on. We look forward to helping him along this path.”
Sixers Adjust Routine to Account for End of Season
With less than three weeks to go in the regular season, the Sixers’ remaining 11 games will come at a swift pace. Never mind that the team is in the midst of a stretch in which it plays 11 of 14 contests on the road. Between now and the their April 12th finale at Madison Square Garden, the Sixers will have no more than one day of rest between games.
They also have one final back-to-back set to complete, next Tuesday and Wednesday at Brooklyn, then at home versus Atlanta, respectively.
While Brett Brown has no intentions of scaling back the intensity and diligence with which he coaches the team, he does plan on maximizing whatever downtime the Sixers have in the days ahead. The coach’s goal is to deliver the available players on his roster to the finish line as healthy as possible.
“I am very mindful, and it’s highlighted when you go down to the [Orlando] game, and I looked at the bench and we have one guy sitting there because a few were at the scorer’s table,” said Brown.
In Monday’s outing at Amway Center, only nine players were active. One of them was Justin Anderson, who a day earlier had to sit out against Boston due to gastroenteritis. He didn’t accompany the Sixers on their flight to central Florida later Sunday afternoon, and arrived in Orlando only about two and a half hours before Monday’s tip-off.
To ensure his group is as fresh as possible for the home stretch of the 2016-2017 campaign, Brown, along with his staff, have recently rethought the team’s non-gameday activities. Circumstances tend to dictate.
For example, the Sixers were initially slated to practice Thursday in Chicago. However, after an early morning arrival in the Windy City following Wednesday’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the decision was made to keep the players off their feet.
As will be the case Friday in advance of their match-up with the Bulls, the Sixers’ focus has shifted a bit more to work that can be accomplished at shootarounds, which are lighter on-court practice sessions usually lasting anywhere from 45 to 75 minutes on the mornings of games.
“We look at shootarounds as an opportunity to teach and learn and go through tape, and really make sure that we’re moving forward,” Brown explained Wednesday in Oklahoma City. “We’re not coaching afraid. We’re just trying to practice smart.”
Consequently, he said, off-days are “really dedicated very much toward recovery.”
“There are low-minute guys that are still required to go to a gym and get shots, but it’s very individualized,” he said. “It’s not like a blanket thing. Everybody really has specific needs, both from demand from me, and skill-wise from our development coaches that is very sort of specific to the individual on off days.”
Striking that appropriate balance, especially at this stage of the season, is one of the Sixers’ key objectives, as they aim to finish out the year strong.
“We have to stay whole as much as we can in the final  games,” said Brown.
Sixers Have Shown Bounce-Back Potential
Wednesday night in Oklahoma City, the Sixers ran into a determined, veteran, physical, playoff-bound opponent in the Thunder. The result was a score the likes of which the Sixers have not been accustomed to in recent weeks, or, for that matter, the better part of the season.
In those infrequent instances in which the team has been on the receiving end of one-sided defeats, encouraging responses have usually followed suit. To revisit a few examples…
Back during the opening month of the season, the Sixers endured a 24-point nationally televised road loss at Minnesota. Two days later, they returned home to handle Phoenix by 15 points.
On the Sixers’ holiday trek through the Western Conference, they headed into their final outing of the trip on the heels of a 17-point setback to Utah, which marked a fourth consecutive loss. The club subsequently answered with a gritty two-point triumph at Denver, the victory sparking a commendable 10-2 stretch that lasted until the end of January.
More recently, at the beginning of March, the Sixers dropped two home games in succession to Detroit and Milwaukee by a combined margin of 44 points. Shorthanded, they then proceeded to play admirably competitive basketball on their second Western Conference swing of the season, setting the stage for last week’s 3-1 spurt that culminated with a triumph over Boston.
“This group has been one of the more interesting groups that I have coached in Philadelphia, because they’re in games, they’re winning games with a very unlikely group,” Brett Brown said Wednesday.
It’s no secret that the Sixers’ roster, especially in the past month and a half, has undergone substantial change, whether via trades or injuries. Gone or no longer available are impact contributors like Nerlens Noel, Ersan Ilyasova, Joel Embiid, and Jerryd Bayless. Gerald Henderson and Jahlil Okafor have managed lingering ailments throughout the year.
Brown has admired that, amidst ups and downs, the Sixers have remained tight.
“I think that we are completely maxing out the abilities of our team, and I give them that much credit for sticking together, for fighting to the end, for continue to be competitive and get wins along the way,” he said. “They’re a very close team. They fight together. They are friends off the court, and after the trade deadline…this group came a little closer together, and I just really respect and enjoy the group that I’m coaching since the All-Star break.”
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