It is as normal a sight at an NBA training camp as missed shot- players walking as gingerly after the first couple of days as if they were stepping on glass.
After a three-hour afternoon practice at Saint Joseph's Sunday, the team hit the court again that night for a shorter run-through. One player wasn't on the court, as point guard Jrue Holiday sat out with a strained Achilles' in his left ankle.
At the afternoon practice, Thaddeus Young, who signed a new contract on Friday night, slowly strolled towards a reporter when asked to talk. "Sore?," he was asked as he made his way to the side of the court. "Oh, yeah," Young responded. "That's training camp. Look, I've got my old man stockings on to help the soreness." With that, Young raised his shorts to show his compression pants that helps circulation and keep the legs warm and loose.
Is the Holiday injury concerning? Perhaps, only because training camp is so short and the regular season is just 13 days away. Then again, he is only 21 and those type of injuries on players that young usually seem to go away in a timely fashion.
Though there has only been three days of practice so far, there is definitely an upbeat attitude around camp. Perhaps it's due to the familiarity that the players have with one another and their coach, Doug Collins. Perhaps it's because new ownership has given some new life to the organization.
Whatever it is, it's positive. Players are confident and miles ahead of where recent Sixer clubs have been after three days. It's something that's hard to describe, but it's a feeling. I compare it to last season. After the first 13 games, in which the Sixers won just three times, the vibe, obviously, was as dull as a nickel. Then, after Andre Iguodala convinced the team that despite the record, things were turning around, the demeanor changed. There was pep in the steps. There was a belief in the head coach. Agonizing losses down the stretch turned into convincing wins. The final 66 games churned out 38 wins.
There was a feeling during those final 66 games that can't really be described, but can be felt when you're around the players every day. It took time to get there last year. That vibe appears to be among the players now.
It could be an interesting season.
More to come.