Lost in the Eagles’ day-after jubilation is the fact that the Sixers held media day on Monday. They hit us with the ‘ole surprise medical update at 9:57 a.m., three minutes before Daryl Morey and Doc Rivers hit the podium:
“P.J. Tucker had an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee. He’s been cleared for on-court work and will participate in training camp in Charleston, South Carolina.”
These emails previously forewarned of disasters, like Markelle Fultz’s shoulder, Joel Embiid’s navicular bone, and whatever other bogus injury we’ve mercifully forgotten over the past five years.
When asked about it though, Tucker provided a grand total of four sentences:
“I’m great,” he said. “Timewise, it made sense to go ahead and get it knocked out. It’s been six weeks and I’m fully cleared and back on the court and doing everything. I’m excited.”
Thing is, Tucker is 37 years old and not getting any younger. That’s how time works. You’d think the Sixers will try to manage him throughout the regular season to keep him fresh for the playoffs, but when asked about managing himself, Tucker said:
“I don’t know what that is. I just wanna play. I just play. It’s not like a process, a thought of a maybe… (pauses). Players play.”
Doc Rivers didn’t seem concerned either.
“Our team will tell me more than I’ll tell him him,” the head coach said. “Obviously my eyes will be the judge of it as well. But he’s important to us not just on the floor, but off the floor. His leadership is definitely needed. I’m not concerned with it. P.J. will tell you every second that he’s not concerned with it. We’ll do the right thing.”
For what it’s worth, Tucker played 71 regular season games and 18 playoff games last season. That is immense at his age. He played 52 during the COVID year, then 72/82/82 in the years prior, so he’s really been very durable over the course of his career. Fingers crossed.