Thad And Sam Are Back

Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks admitted to a fleeting moment of serious concern last Friday when Thaddeus Young, his starting small forward, had to leave practice with a mid-back strain.

''But KJ (head athletic trainer Kevin Johnson) said it wasn't going to be that serious,'' Cheeks said today. ''But (Young) never gets hurt. I'm hoping he's going to be OK (for Wednesday night's opener).''

By happenstance, Cheeks had started Kareem Rush at small forward against the New JerseyNets in last Wednesday's preseason finale, bringing Young off the bench. But that was mostly to give Rush some extended minutes and allow him to relocate his rhthm as a three-point shooter. In Young's weekend absence, Rush stayed with the first unit and represents the contingency plan if Young is unable to play.

Young, though, felt as if he could have practiced today.

''They just wanted to take precautionary measures, to make sure everything is fine,'' he said. ''It's a little sore, but I'm fine. I should definitely be on the court Wednesday (against the Toronto Raptors) and ready to go. I hate to sit down. I'm not used to that. I'm used to always being on the court.''

Dalembert seems fine, too. He even stayed after practice today to go through an extended shooting drill with assistant coach Aaron McKie.

Oh, one other thing:

Kay Lynam, wife of assistant coach Jim Lynam, celebrated a milestone the other day.

Happy 65th birthday, Kay.

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