Elton Brand will remain on the sidelines for tonight's game against the New York Knicks. We talked last night (before the game against the San Antonio Spurs) about Brand's injury and when he might return to the lineup. While the Sixers have flourished (win streak!), we have also discussed when Brand might return and what that return might mean.
I think, at this point, we have to look to next Saturday's home game against these same New York Knicks as Brand's return to the lineup. It makes no sense right now to bring Brand back for one game against the Dallas Mavericks when they could hold him out until the following Saturday. Last night, Brand said the "optimal" recovery time for his dislocated right shoulder is six weeks. Today, we're at about 4 1/2 weeks (a little bit more I suppose .... he injured the shoulder on Dec. 17). If Brand can continue to rehab until next Saturday, he'll have reached the maximum recovery time for the injury he suffered.
Considering the Sixers are doing fine while he's recovering, this is the game plan for which I vote.
Speaking with the Sixers before the game, I think they understand that the early-season struggles came from forcing Brand into the offensive equation.
From Lou Williams: "I think we were force feeding, trying to fit him in ... when he comes back he'll come fit in with us."
So, Brand's return is on pause for another night. But the win streak isn't. Sure, the New York Knicks don't exactly inspire fear into the hearts of millions, but I think it's a tough match for the Sixers because of the Knicks' run-and-gun style.
I know I don't often offer predictions, but I will tonight: Sixers by 8 (It's a Philadelphia weekend ... )