The Sixers announced today in a press release that a pair of injured youngsters have been assigned to the G League to join the Delaware Blue Coats for rehab purposes. According to the team, Justin Patton will begin practicing with limited and controlled contact, while Zhaire Smith will participate in non-contact elements of Delaware’s practices.
Patton, who is coming off right foot surgery, has been plagued by foot issues throughout his two-year NBA career, appearing in just one regular season game to date. He was sent to Philadelphia in November’s Jimmy Butler blockbuster, but will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. It’s unlikely we see him play much of a role for the 76ers down the stretch even if he gets healthy.
Smith, on the other hand, was the Sixers’ first-round pick in 2018 and remains under team control for several seasons, so it’s notable that he’s taking the next step in his rehab process. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), while Smith is just doing non-contact work for now, he’ll ramp up his activities in the coming weeks. The rookie is coming off a Jones fracture in his left foot and a complication created by an allergy issue.
Here’s more on the Sixers:
- Derek Bodner of The Athletic takes an extensive look at the Sixers’ trade deadline options, writing that the team is in need of depth and perimeter defense. Bodner also explores whether the 76ers would move Markelle Fultz while his value is so low and whether the club would make a deal that cuts into its 2019 cap room.
- Within the same story, Bodner reports that sources with the Sixers “vigorously” denied a recent report suggesting that the team had expressed interest in Knicks power forward Noah Vonleh.
- Jimmy Butler missed Wednesday’s game with a wrist injury, but it’s not considered a major issue, according to head coach Brett Brown, who said that a Monday MRI on Butler’s wrist didn’t reveal anything concerning (Twitter link via Tim Bontemps of ESPN.com).