Sixers enduring difficult preseason practices

"I love our energy, I love our competitiveness," Doug Collins said after Tuesday’s practice. (Charles Fox/Staff Photographer)

Training camp for the 76ers began Oct. 2, but already the team is in the dog days, so to speak. 

Coach Doug Collins has to tread the line of getting his team in shape, but not running the into the ground.

Players have to be in incredible shape to compete in the NBA, but with an intense training camp, this is the time when some signs of fatigue are showing.

“I love our energy, I love our competitiveness,” Collins said after Tuesday’s practice at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. “As you get beat up and a little tired, the mental part comes into it when you have to grind yourself through.”

The Sixers have a relatively young team, but there are veterans such as Jason Richardson and Kwame Brown, who are entering their 12th NBA season, while Dorell Wright, despite not turning 27 until December, is beginning his ninth year in the NBA.

“We have to make sure those guys get their rest,” Collins said. “I don’t want to get them beaten down so their legs get so tired they can’t play, so it is a little bit of a juggling act.”

What has made this even more difficult is that the with so many players vying for meaningful minutes, the scrimmages have been hotly contested affairs.

“We have a lot of guys and not many too many minute to go around and guys are really competing,” said Lavoy Allen, who will see time at power forward and center.

All the players agreed that practicing against each other is becoming tiresome and they can’t wait to compete during Thursday’s opening preseason game in Orlando against the Magic.

Either way, Collins has tried to make it so that any game won’t be harder physically on the players than the practices. So far he seems to have succeeded in that area.