Brand out with thumb injury, Nocioni to start

MEMPHIS – Philadelphia 76ers forward Elton Brand will miss Tuesday’s game with Memphis and Wednesday’s game at Houston after reinjuring his sprained right thumb in the late stages of the team’s loss to Minnesota on Sunday.

In Brand’s place the Sixers will start Andres Nocioni. Nocioni has seen limited playing time this season and has not played more than 10 minutes in any single game this season.

“[Brand] re-injured that thumb in the late stages of the game on Sunday,” Sixers coach Doug Collins said at the team’s shootaround on Tuesday morning.  “He’s not going to play the next two. Hopefully it will calm down over the all-star break and he’ll be able to get back out there next week. But he’s definitely going to miss the next two.”

Collins hopes that the Nocioni will help the Sixers, already playing without center Spencer Hawes (Achilles’ tendon), in the quickness department on Tuesday against Memphis.

“We’ll see if he can give us some good energy and some spacing on the floor,” Collins said of Nocioni. “He’s worked very hard and he’s been a real professional for us. We’re obviously going to be giving up some size because Memphis does a good job on the offensive backboards.  But I want to start this game with a lot of energy.”

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