Brand in, Hawes out for Sixers

Sixers forward Elton Brand will return to the starting lineup Wednesday against the Spurs. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

The Sixers today announced MRIs were negative on the back and Achilles tendon of Sixers center Spencer Hawes, but he will still miss tonight's game against Tim Duncan and the Spurs.

The Achilles' issue has become chronic, and the Sixers worried that a disk problem in his back was the root of it, especially since Hawes battled back soreness earlier this season. The exams, performed Tuesday, showed neither a disk problem nor any tearing of the Achilles'. He is listed as day-to-day.

Forward Elton Brand will return to the starting lineup. Brand missed Monday's win over the Lakers with a sprained right thumb which needs more time to heal -- time the Sixers do not have.

"It's not close to 100 percent," said Brand, after he took part in a shootaround this morning at the Wells Fargo Center. "It's definitely painful. The swelling has gone down. With Spencer out, you've got to find a way. ... Especially against those big guys."

Without Brand, the Lakers out-rebounded the Sixers 55-30 on Monday.

Brand will start alongside first-round rookie Nik Vucevic. Second-rounder Lavoy Allen, the Temple product who has shined the past few games and started in the last two, will come off the bench, coach Doug Collins said.