Sixers will be severely shorthanded tonight against Wizards

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Spencer Hawes and Nikola Vucevic will be out with injuries tonight against the Wizards. (Matt Slocum/AP)

Sixers coach Doug Collins knew when he went to the Wells Fargo Center this morning that he could be met with some pretty bad news. He was. And then it got even worse.

As expected, Collins was told that starting center Spencer Hawes would be out for his fourth straight game with an Achilles' strain. Nikola Vucevic, who suffered a strained quad against the Miami Heat on Saturday night, will also be out tonight when the Sixers host the Washington Wizards.

Then after arriving at the arena this morning, forward Elton Brand was sent home by the medical/coaching staff with a stomach virus. His status for tonight's game is uncertain.

As for Brand, Collins said: "I hope his gut's feeling better. It wasn't feeling good this morning. If E.B. can play, he'll play. He came in and we sent him home."

On Vucevic, Collins said: "It's the first time he's ever had any injury and I think any time you do that and sometimes that first time that you get banged like that you're not sure how bad it is. The doctors don't think it's that serious."

On Hawes, Collins said: "He still had trouble getting up on his toes. I saw him walking and he's putting that heel down. Until he can get up on those toes, what ends up happening is you can't run. You're jamming that foot into the floor. You can't just throw a guy out there and try to win a game tonight without thinking of the ramifications of where that's going to take you the rest of the season. We just have to dig in.

"Right now we're not really sure what we have to start this game," said Collins. "This is where your mental approach has to be incredibly strong. When you get people hurt somebody's got to be ready to play." 

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