Joel Embiid is doubtful for tomorrow night with a bruised hand suffered during the Sunday win in Phoenix.
The Sixers’ center was off to the side at practice Tuesday morning as a trainer worked on his injured extremity.
“It was a legitimate scare,” said head coach Brett Brown. “A legitimate fall. If you saw the palm of his hand you’d see the bruising and the swelling and the discoloring. If it was his non-shooting hand, you might feel more confident, but we’ll all learn more tomorrow.”
The 25-12 Spurs come to town on Wednesday night.
But the big story on Action News is the return of Markelle Fultz, who took part in 4v4 basketball and later did some 1v1 work as the ravenous Philadelphia media watched.
Brett Brown joked as he approached the scrum, offering to stand to the side so writers could film the rookie guard while asking questions.
“I think he’s doing okay, you know?” said Brown of Fultz. “He’s moving well. He’s starting to get excited about his return to play. Nobody knows a time frame on that yet. He came out and participated in some four on four, half court stuff with his team and now you’re seeing what you see, just some light one on one stuff.”
As described, most of his work was 1v1 offensive and defensive stuff at less than 50% speed. He worked with Jacob Pullen and James Michael McAdoo for a good 25 minutes before the session was closed down:
I didn’t see Fultz take a ton of jump shots, but he looked like he was moving relatively well. The shoulder looked fine on a dunk that I didn’t get on camera.
Kyle Neubeck over at Philly Voice snagged this clip:
Fultz is still officially listed as “out” on the injury report, and his return to practice was accompanied by this brief press release:
“Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz has been cleared to begin the final stage of his return-to-play program. The program consists of gradual re-integration into team practices and training, complemented with additional conditioning work to support fitness readiness for gameplay.”
It’s obvious that Fultz’s skill-set is going to be a much-needed integration on this team. They simply do not have anyone outside of Ben Simmons who can put the ball on the floor and score at the rim. There’s a lot of offensive redundancy between spot-up shooters like JJ Redick, Robert Covington, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Justin Anderson, Jerryd Bayless, and even the injured Furkan Korkmaz.
Brown was asked if he thinks about what Fultz can add to the roster.
“Every day,” he said. “Because the reality of the whole thing is, the more you feel our team and coach it, his skill-set ties so many things together. He can make plays. When you’re missing some of those qualities in a group, things get exposed. He can do that. He can create a shot for himself and create a shot for others. So if you ask me, ‘do I project out what he can add when he’s in there?’ (the answer is) every day.
“The design of our team was mindful of what he brought to the table. His skill-set is very much in demand.”