76ers Notes

Rookie forward

Rodney Carney,

who had started the last 16 games for the 76ers, missed last night's contest against the Phoenix Suns because of an injured right shoulder.

The 6-foot-7 Carney said he did not know how or when he hurt his shoulder but added that it had been bothering him for the last two games, including Monday night when he shot just 2 of 11 against Sacramento.

"It was hurting but I thought it would subside because it wasn't that bad yet," Carney said. "But then as time progressed and I kept playing on it, it kept getting worse. The last game, when I released [a shot], it started hurting."

Doctors have told Carney he may have a problem in his rotator cuff, either tendinitis or a tear. Carney will undergo an MRI exam today.

"You could see him today in shoot-around; he was grimacing every time he passed the ball or took a shot," Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said.

Carney has posted 13 double-figure scoring games, eight of them coming in his latest run as a starter. In 55 games, he has averaged 6.3 points and 1.8 rebounds.

Willie Green took Carney's place in the starting lineup.

Loving the road

The Phoenix Suns had a chance to become the first team in NBA history to sweep its road schedule in interconference games last night at the Wachovia Center, but it's not as if they're playing in hostile arenas.

The Suns, who rank fourth in road attendance in the NBA, consistently receive a good reception in the opposition's buildings because of their unique fast-paced style of play, led by two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash.

"I think it's because of the guys that we have, and that they have been successful," Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni said. "They know a good game is coming up, whether it's by us or the other team. Everybody seems to play well against us, so usually we have very exciting games, and I think people enjoy that."

The Suns entered their game against the Sixers with the most road wins in the league, standing at 23-7.

Butler honored

Rasual Butler,

who starred at Roman Catholic High School and La Salle, has been named winner of the NBA Community Assist Award for January.

Butler, of the New Orleans Hornets, was honored for helping the poor in South Africa, where he attended the NBA's Basketball Without Borders program in September. Butler met a 19-year-old resident from South Africa, Jerome Duplooy, then invited him to spend the holidays in Oklahoma City.

Last month, Butler sponsored a drive in which fans attending a Jan. 20 Hornets game could donate toiletries and other personal care products. More than 2,000 pounds of items were donated to a youth organization in Johannesburg.

- Joe Juliano