Injury bug starting to hit Sixers

Spencer Hawes is struggling with an Achilles' strain and a strained back. (Matt Slocum/AP Photo)

The injuries are starting to pile up a little bit for the 76ers.

Today at the team’s practice at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, coach Doug Collins brought in a yoga expert so his club could work out some of the kinks it has collected during the blitz of an early season that has had them play nine games in 13 days.

Gimping around the practice facility were Evan Turner (thigh contusion) and Spencer Hawes (Achilles’ strain). Hawes has also been struggling with a strained back recently. Collins said he was grateful there was no game today as he thought neither one of those players would have been able to play. For tomorrow, when the team hosts the Denver Nuggets, the coach said both would be a game-time decision.

“We’re beat up,” said Collins. “Evan is still pretty sore, Spencer has a sore Achilles’. I think playing (Monday) his back was still not right and I think he was probably just compensating.  So we did a little something different, we brought a yoga instructor in today and our guys had 30 minutes of yoga and I think they really enjoyed that. It was good.

“We’re trying everything we can just to try to keep our guys fresh mentally and physically. We’re a little beat up right now. I’m a little bit concerned about Evan and Spencer for (tonight). Right now “Pistol” (Turner) is still not moving great. We tried to get him to walk through some stuff today and he’s still a little gimpy and Spencer’s Achilles’, he’s walking heel-toe right now. Hopefully (trainer Kevin Johnson) can get those guys some good treatment. These next two home games (tomorrow and Friday against Atlanta) are really important.”

Hawes’ potential absence could leave a huge void for Collins, perhaps causing him to rely on rookie center Nikola Vucevic for heavy minutes. After that, it’s veteran Tony Battie, who has seen limited action this season. The team could go small with Elton Brand manning the center at times.

“We need every big guy,” said Collins. “Denver has a huge front line. And then Atlanta comes in with Josh Smith and their huge front line. Then you go to Miami (Saturday), not so much their front line but their perimeter, although they do have (Chris) Bosh on the front line.”

Though gimpy, Turner said the pain is subsiding somewhat.

“Right now I’m just resting it,” said the second-year swingman. “I think the best decision I made was to sit out (Monday). I feel 100 times better than I did (Monday). I got to shoot around, got some movement on it and it felt good. (Monday) I couldn’t get any balance, I couldn’t get any push. I feel better. It hurt when it first occurred (Saturday) and then the more and more I sat down the tighter and tighter it got. I feel fine to go (tomorrow).”

Sixshots: After the yoga session, players got in some foul shooting before calling it a day…Beginning tomorrow the Sixers play 12 of their next 14 games at the Wells Fargo Center.