Sixers set Opening Night roster

I said last night that things didn't look good for Jared Reiner in terms of making the 76ers' opening night roster. I don't feel good about being right, but I was. The Sixers waived the backup big man today, leaving the roster at 14, one under the NBA limit. And that counts Jason Smith, the second-year big man who is out for the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

I think several elements worked against Reinder, who has 46 games of experience in the league with the Chicago Bulls and the Milwaukee Bucks: Rookie Marreese Speights has emerged as a guy who might just get some minutes at both power forward and center, serving as a backup to backups Reggie Evans and Theo Ratliff; team president/general manager Ed Stefanski might just be more comfortable with a spot available in the event he wants to add a player later, possibly off the waiver wire of final cuts, and Reiner has been a fringe player throughout his career, playing overseas and in the NBA Development League, and might be viewed as little more than that. Somehow, though, I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up on some team's roster later on, probably as a 10-day guy.

Here is the roster that the Sixers will begin the season with. The opener is Wednesday against Toronto at the Wachovia Center.

Centers: Samuel Dalembert, Theo Ratliff.

Forwards: Elton Brand, Donyell Marshall, Marreesse Speights, Thaddeus Young, Reggie Evans.

Guards: Andre Miller, Andre Igoudala, Kareem Rush, Royal Ivey, Lou Williams, Willie Green.

Forward/center Jason Smith will miss season following knee surgery.

Meanwhile, there is the case of assistant coach Jeff Ruland . . .

Ruland told me earlier today that he expects to be back with the team for Monday's practice after battling a staph infection that left him spending two nights in a hospital. He said an ear infection he first noticed Oct. 11-12-13 when the Sixers were in Toronto spread to his nose. He didn't travel for the Oct. 18 game in Cleveland and kept getting progressively worse.

''My face blew up,'' Ruland said in his inimitable way. ''I looked like Will Smith in 'Hitch.' I've had some injuries over my career, but this was top three in terms of pain. It got really nasty. I'm all right now. I'm weak, but I'm all right. The doctor told me to rest and that I could come back Monday.''

Ruland, a former All-Star center, whose two attempts to continue his playing career with the Sixers were cut short by knee and achilles tendon problems, is in his second stint as an assistant coach with the team. He spent last season coaching Albuquerque, then the Sixers' affiliate in the ''D'' League.

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