UPDATED: Coach Doug Collins told reporters tonight that Iguodala will start against the Pacers.
EARLIER: After missing the past seven games, and 12 overall, due to Achilles tendonitis, Sixers forward Andre Iguodala appears to be ready to get back on the court tonight when the Sixers host the Indiana Pacers (14-20).
Iguodala participated in about half of yesterday's practice, and said today after a shootaround at the Wells Fargo Center that he expects to "play through it" tonight.
If Iguodala is ready to go, and his is officially listed as a game-time decision, coach Doug Collins said that he will start. "Andre is a starter and after warming up for the game, I'd want him to stay warm and not go to the bench and cool down before going into the game," Collins said.
The coach has not been happy with the team's defense of late, particularly in the fourth quarter. Collins' goal is to keep teams under 25 points in the first, something his team has done just twice over the past eight games. That, he says, is a big reason he's looking forward to Iguodala's return, to help set the tone early defensively.
Here are some keys to tonight's game for the Sixers:
*Don't play down to the Pacers. Not that the Sixers are so many notches above the Pacers, but Indiana has lost 10 of 13 and it's last nine on the road. Th e Sixers have done a very good job of protecting their home court, winning nine of their last 11 there. Also, this is the first of three games in four nights for the Pacers.
*Show patience on offense. Indiana has a way of making a team feel comfortable taking bad shots. They are third in the league in defensive field goal percentage at 43.3 percent.
*Hit the mid-range jump shots. The Sixers have become very good at taking the ball to the basket recently, particularly Jrue Holiday, Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young. The Pacers have an eraser on the back line in 7-2 Roy Hibbert. Once they beat their man off the dribble, it might be wise to pull up for the mid-range shot instead of challenging Hibbert each time.
*Don't give up offensive rebounds. The Pacers have recently inserted Tyler Hansbrough to the starting lineup. He is as tenacious as they come going after the basketball. If the Sixers keep him off the offensive boards, and get quick outlet passes, their running game should be very productive.
*Contain Danny Granger. Collins said that should Iguodala return, his first assignment will be to curtail Granger. When Granger, who is averaging 20.8 points a game, leads the team in scoring, the Pacers are 11-8 and when he scores 30 or more they are 4-1.
Download our new iPhone/Android app for all of our Sixers coverage, plus app-exclusive analysis and videos.