Sixers could face Nets with just eight players with Okafor still out

032017_okafor_1200
Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor shoots against the Boston Celtics during first half action on Sunday, March 19, 2017 in Philadelphia. Okafor did not play in the second half as the Sixers defeated the Celtics 105-99.

NEW YORK – The 76ers might have only eight available players for Tuesday night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center.

Jahlil Okafor remains out because of right knee soreness. Gerald Henderson will miss the game with soreness in his left hip. Sergio Rodriguez is questionable with left hamstring tightness; the backup point guard had an MRI on Tuesday morning. And Tiago Splitter is questionable as he continues his comeback from 2016 hip surgery.

And that doesn’t even include Joel Embiid (left knee), Ben Simmons (right foot) and Jerryl Bayless (left wrist), all out with season-ending injuries.

Sixers coach Brett Brown said Nik Stauskas will assume the role of backup point guard if Rodriguez is unable to go.

This will mark the third consecutive game and 10th overall that Okafor has missed with the knee soreness.  Okafor and Henderson did not participate in Tuesday morning's shootaround. Rodriguez wasn't even at the shootaround.

Okafor has been dealing with soreness after he had surgery on March 22, 2016 to repair a torn meniscus in the knee. He experienced the soreness in the first half of the Sixers’ game against the Boston Celtics on March 19 at the Wells Fargo Center. Okafor was unable to play in the second half. He missed the next night’s game against the Orlando Magic.

He returned to face the Oklahoma City Thunder that Wednesday. However, the Sixers held him out against the Chicago Bulls that Friday. Their reasoning was that Thunder shooting guard Victor Oladipo had inadvertently hit Okafor’s knee during the matchup at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Okafor has not played or participated in a shootaround since. 

After Tuesday night, the Sixers will have only eight games remaining. Brown said he doesn't know when the center will return. However, he wouldn't say that the big man was completely shut down for the season.

"I'm just relying on the medical people's direction to me," Brown said. "To date, that has not been given to me. So we will go with the flow accordingly."

Brown said he didn't know anything else regarding Okafor's return. However, the center has been doing mostly cardio work recently.

"In general, he hasn't been doing very much," Brown said.

Henderson does not play on back-to-back nights because of his hip.  The Sixers recalled Splitter from the Delaware 87ers on Monday after sending him to their D-League affiliate last Tuesday as part of his return-to-play protocol. The power forward/center last played in an NBA game as an Atlanta Hawk on Jan. 31, 2016, because of season-ending right hip surgery. He might make his Sixers debut in the coming days.

Follow and contact 76ers beat writer Keith Pompey on Twitter and on Instagram at PompeyOnSixers.

 

 

Continue Reading