According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the Sixers start to this season should be considered a minor miracle given everything they’ve dealt with in the past nine months. Windhorst details Joel Embiid and his fractured orbital bone at a time when the Sixers had just won seven games in a row. Embiid needed surgery and missed 10 games, and when he came back in the playoffs he wasn’t himself.
Then, the team had to deal with the Bryan Colangelo drama earlier this year after their former GM’s purported Twitter accounts had some not-so-nice things to say about Embiid and Ben Simmons. As Windhorst surmises, would the absence of that debacle have helped the Sixers close on Nemanja Bjelica or another free agent?
On top of all that, the Sixers’ 2018 first-round pick, Zhaire Smith, has still not played this year and probably won’t after undergoing a thoracoscopy for a severe allergic reaction to sesame. The team apparently knew he was allergic to peanuts, but not sesame.
Then, just recently, guard Markelle Fultz was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome and is expected to miss three to six weeks as he rehabs his right shoulder away from the team. Time will tell what happens with Fultz, but the Sixers should be commended for how well they’ve done this season given all of the above.
There’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- The Nets are in a bit of a lull, to say the least, but one bright spot could be the play of rookie Rodions Kurucs, writes Bryan Fonseca of NetsDaily. Kurucs, 20, scored 12 points and grabbed four rebounds in 14 minutes in Brooklyn’s loss to the Cavaliers on Monday.
- For a more thorough explanation of thoracic outlet syndrome, the medical condition that Fultz is currently working through away from the Sixers, take some time to read this informative piece from Stephania Bell of ESPN.
- In an appearance on today’s episode of The Jump on ESPN, Raptors’ president Masai Ujiri laughed off the interview Kyle Lowry gave in which he didn’t exactly give a ringing endorsement of Ujiri, who said, “Kyle Lowry is always mad at me, every year!” (Hat tip to Faizal Khamisa of Sportsnet).