Once again, Hawes out of lineup for Sixers

When the most dominating center in the league visits, as Dwight Howard and his Orlando Magic will be doing tonight, the Sixers and coach Doug Collins would really like to have his full roster ready. But that won't be the case.

Collins announced this morning that starting center Spencer Hawes will miss his eighth-straight game due to a strained Achilles'. "There is no timetable," said Collins of Hawes. "When a player tells me he's ready to go, he'll go."

It appeared that Hawes might be ready for tonight's game, as there were hints late last week that tonight might be the target night. "No (setback)," said Collins, just a case that his big man still isn't 100 percent.

Other news on the injury front was a little bit better when Collins updated the injury of rookie Nikola Vucevic, out for the past four games with a quad strain.

"I think Nik will dress tonight," Collins said. "We'll see what happens with that, but we're thinking of dressing him. If he doesn't play, I still want him in uniform. I want him to get gameday preparation again. I don't want him to get used to coming to the game wearing a suit. I want him to get his thoughts together about preparing especially that he is a young player."

I asked Collins if this is a little push, perhaps a lesson to the rookie that playing with pain is part of the NBA experience. Collins denied that.

"Not at all, not at all," said Collins. "I don't want him coming to the arena knowing he can't be out there. It's just a little thing. I want him prepared."

Tonty Battie will get the start at center. Battie was a teammate of Howard's with the Magic and plays very good defense against him. Barring foul trouble, expect Battie's minutes to perhaps climb into the 20-minute area tonight.

More to come...