It seems as if Saturday is, finally, the day for Elton Brand's return. I only say "finally" because it seems Brand has been a game-time decision for a while now. Okay, actually, he has been a game-time decision for a while: For the last three games.
The 76ers have kept him sidelined an extra week or thereabouts to allow that dislocated right shoulder to receive the "optimal" recovery time, which is around 6 weeks.
Today, the Sixers held an "optional" practice at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Brand participated. Tomorrow, the Sixers will return to regular practice, where Brand is expected to scrimmage full-court, 5-on-5 for the first time since his injury on Dec. 17 against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Brand has been practicing since early last week. Today, though, Sixers coach Tony DiLeo said tomorrow would be the first time Brand would be full-court, 5-on-5. Interesting. We know he's been playing 1-on-1, 2-on-2, 3-on-3, and 5-on-5 ... half-court. I was surprised to find out this would be his first time scrimmaging full-court. They have definitely been protecting that shoulder and making sure it's fully healed.
About Saturday, which is against the New York Knicks at the Wachovia Center, DiLeo said he was "planning" on having Brand. He also said Brand would come off the bench in "short stints" of four, five, maybe six minutes. Brand said he understood this role coming off the bench. He said he understands that run-and-gun has led to this turnaround (from 13-20 to 20-21). He said he's all about winning.
In case we've forgotten -- it has been a while -- Brand was leading the team in scoring at the time of his injury; he was averaging 15.9 points and 9.8 rebounds a game.
p.s. A funny quote from Lou Williams today about yesterday's happenings in Washington: “It was kind of interesting to me because growing up it was kind of a joke to African-American people to have a black president. But then out of nowhere it’s like all of a sudden we have one. It was surreal to watch, just to look at the moment. The reaction from my peers, my best friends, people I grew up with was, ‘Is this really happening?”