Sixers coach Nick Nurse admitted to being concerned about Kelly Oubre Wednesday night in his first game since suffering a fractured rib and other injuries in a car accident, writes Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Oubre wasn’t sharp during his first five-minute stint off the bench, but he looked much better when he returned to the game in the second half, finishing with 12 points and three rebounds in 19 minutes.
“It’s a blessing, man,” Oubre said. “I’ve been on the couch and in rehab facilities and things like that this past month, so it feels amazing. And especially coming off of something pretty crazy in my life, to play basketball, it brings everything home. This is what I do. It’s what I love to do, and I’m going to smile doing something that I love.”
It had been 24 days since Oubre was injured by a hit-and-run driver in his Philadelphia neighborhood. He said “adrenaline kind of took over” during the game, so he wasn’t in any pain. He also declined to answer a question about the rest of his recovery process, telling reporters, “I just want to play basketball.”
“Just continue to gain coach’s trust,” Oubre said. “And just show that I’m able to be in there in big moments, and just stay out there and just continue to compete with the guys.”
There’s more on the Sixers:
- President of basketball operations Daryl Morey should be searching for someone to upgrade the defense, but adding another star who needs the ball in his hands could disrupt the team’s chemistry, contends Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Pompey believes Morey should make a strong play for Raptors forward OG Anunoby or Bulls guard Alex Caruso if they become available, but he doesn’t see the need for a more ball-dominant player like Pascal Siakam or Zach LaVine. Pompey points out that the Sixers have plenty of depth since the James Harden trade, and Oubre’s return gives them 13 players worthy of regular minutes.
- Joel Embiid didn’t look like someone recovering from an illness as he poured in 50 points Wednesday night, but he told reporters he still wasn’t 100% after missing the previous two games, according to Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia. “Man, my chest was hurting,” Embiid said. “I was pretty much struggling. But I’m much better than I was; it was pretty bad. I would imagine the last two games (out) were really helpful because in the first practice, I could not go up and down more than twice. And then yesterday, it was much better. (Tonight) in the second half I started feeling much better. So I would imagine that tomorrow, I’ll get on the floor again and push myself. And then Friday, I would imagine that I’ll feel good.”
- Appearing on ESPN’s First Take (video link), Austin Rivers commented on the Sixers’ firing of his father, Doc Rivers, following last season’s playoffs, saying, “They did my pops dirty.”