Sixers Notes: Okafor, Noel, McConnell, Rodriguez

Sixers coach Brett Brown expects second-year center Jahlil Okafor to be ready by opening night, tweets Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly. Okafor is still experiencing soreness in his right knee related to the operation he had in March. Brown said his progress is encouraging, but he will probably begin the season with a minutes restriction (Twitter link). The team is less optimistic about Nerlens Noel, who was scratched from a game last week with a strained groin and may not be able to play in the October 26th opener.

There’s more news out of Philadelphia:

  • Brown is still working out roles for backup point guards T.J. McConnell and Sergio Rodriguez, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Jerryd Bayless, who signed a three-year, $27MM deal this summer, is still projected as the starter, although he will be sidelined for a while with a wrist injury. McConnell has been announced as the starting point guard for opening night, but Rodriguez will get the start in tonight’s preseason game with the Pistons. The coach warned fans not to read anything into the decisions. “There’s no sort of madness from a discipline standpoint, from a performance standout,” Brown said. “It’s just that we’ve got a few [preseason] games left. I want to see Sergio more at the start of a game with that group we have been looking at, bring T.J. off the bench and really let him be bothersome defensively as he is. That’s the only motive behind that.”
  • The Sixers are still planning to take it easy with Joel Embiid, but they haven’t ruled out playing him in back-to-back games, Pompey tweets. Philadelphia plans to keep Embiid on a minutes restriction to reduce the risk of problems with the foot injury that cost him his first two NBA seasons.
  • Former Sixers guard Pierre Jackson will play in Croatia this season, tweets international basketball writer David Pick. Jackson signed with Cedevita Zagreb, the defending champions in Croatia. Philadelphia waived the 25-year-old point guard before the start of the past two seasons.

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