GALLOWAY, N.J. - The 76ers are expected to finish among the NBA's worst teams for a third straight season. But there's a sense of excitement at Stockton University that wasn't present at the squad's previous two training camps.
"It feels night and day compared to 24 months ago when we were at St. Joe's," said general manager Sam Hinkie, referring to the 2013 training camp at Hagan Arena. "Everything about the kind of things we can control behind the scenes feels different."
Hinkie pointed to the additions of Todd Wright as assistant coach/head of strength and conditioning and David T. Martin as director of health and performance. He also said the team has had two seasons to reiterate its mission.
"That feels different to us," he said.
Hollis Thompson, Nerlens Noel and Tony Wroten are the only holdovers from the 2013-14 squad.
While there's more excitement, the Sixers are still focused on player development.
"It's still going to be about our guys," Hinkie said. "It's got to be about our players. We talk about that a lot about . . . a different vibe. Here, it's about me and my game."
Holmes hurts ankle
Richaun Holmes injured his ankle midway through the training camp session Wednesday morning and did not return. The rookie power forward was held out of the evening practice.
"I doubt if we will see him tomorrow," coach Brett Brown said. ". . . He will probably be out for 24 hours at least."
The coach said Holmes did not sprain his ankle.
"It's a little bit more going on at the base on the Achilles that I'm going to learn more about later," Brown said.
Hinkie said Joel Embiid will wear a cast on his right foot for "just a few more weeks."
The 7-foot center had bone graft surgery in August to repair the navicular bone in his right foot. Embiid, the third overall pick in the 2014 draft, will miss his second straight season because of the injury.
Embiid was back in Philadelphia on Wednesday after spending a couple of days with the team at the Shore.
"He can't do very much right now," Hinkie said. "The things he can do, which are limited, are nutrition, medication, sleep and staying off [his foot]."
The former Kansas standout will begin a range-of-motion and non-weight-bearing rehabilitation process once he sheds the cast.
- Keith Pompey