IT WAS A welcomed sight for the Sixers on Monday when they were finally able to put both Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor on the court. Okafor said afterward that he developed soreness in his surgically repaired right knee at the end of training camp in the beginning of the month, and hadn't really done much on the practice floor since. He said he felt good and was eager to see how he would feel when he woke up Tuesday.
Okafor wasn't on the floor for the last part of practice on Tuesday as the team finished off a scrimmage and ran through some specialty plays. He was limited to working to tolerance. Though head coach Brett Brown wouldn't go as far as to say that Okafor felt some more pain, you get the feeling everyone had hoped he could have been out on the floor.
"We held him out today," said Brown. "We didn't feel like it was smart to push it today. He went through all the stuff with the team that wasn't up-down physical stuff. But he felt OK. We just felt like it wasn't smart to play him."
Okafor had surgery last March to repair a torn meniscus. Both he and the team have said that the hope is for him to be able to play limited minutes when the season opens next Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Center against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Other injury updates
Point guard Jerryd Bayless is still out as the Sixers try to figure out how to treat his sore left wrist. Cat Barber had a stomach ailment and was out for the day. Nerlens Noel trained exclusively with strength and conditioning coach Todd Wright to try to heal his strained groin, while Robert Covington (migraine), Hollis Thompson (upper respiratory), Jahlil Okafor (knee), Nik Stauskas (hamstring) and Gerald Henderson (hip) went through modified training.
On a positive front, Joel Embiid is happy with his progress as Opening Night nears.
"I'm getting in better shape, so I can play through tough stretches," he said. "But I still have a long way to go to get back in game shape. It's starting to get easier. I'm starting to figure it out. The game is becoming easier. It's starting to get physical, which I'm getting used to. There are a lot of big bodies. I love that. It's getting easier for me. I'm getting there. Health-wise, I'm 200 percent. Game shape-wise, I would say I'm not 100 percent. I still get tired. In practice, I have to work on that - run the floor, make sure I play to every possession."
The team will hold an open practice for fans on Wednesday at the Liacouras Center on the campus of Temple University. Doors for the practice open at 6 p.m., with the team scheduled to be on the floor from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
In the past, this has been an interactive affair with the team running through some light drills while coach Brett Brown would say a few words to those in attendance. Free tickets can be obtained at eventbrite.com.
Tuesday night, coach Brown held his second annual coaches clinic at the team's new practice facility in Camden. Coaches from the area, from college to youth leagues, flooded the site, as over 550 people registered to hear the coach speak.
"I enjoy it and I hope the coaches do, too," said Brown. "It's part of wanting to help coaches, help coach the coaches. You want to give back to the game. People did that for me and I like doing that. The city of Philadelphia and Camden, to offer that free to the coaches of any level of any age is a real privilege for me. I love it. I like getting out here. You can touch all topics and areas. Something may resonate for somebody. The format, the attendance, the number of people and the concept is just something that I personally enjoy, and I hope that we can help the coaches."