Sixers turning heads against strong teams
Arnett Moultrie, recovering from October ankle surgery, is expected to return to practice in January. (USA Today Images)
Injured forward Arnett Moultrie was at the Sixers’ practice on Tuesday afternoon at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, firing up a few shots and chatting with his teammates and coaching staff.
But Moultrie’s appearance at practice was not an indicator that the second-year player was ready to return from October ankle surgery. The appearance was, however, a chance for coach Brett Brown to imagine the Sixers’ rotations when Moultrie returns.
Brown kept close tabs on Moultrie, 23, during the team’s informal preseason workouts before he injured his ankle. But it was during the NBA summer league in Orlando where Brown really got to see what Moultrie could do.
A quick and athletic big man, Moultrie might be a good fit for Brown’s young and up-tempo style of play. At 6-foot-11, Moultrie also will add some much-needed size. Seven-footer Spencer Hawes is the tallest player on the team with a good two inches on the next-tallest teammate.
“I had a small glimpse when he was with me and I had a big glimpse during summer league because I paid close attention to that,” Brown said about Moultrie. “I’m excited to have another bouncy, energetic player and my mission with him is to get him to be energized on every play. The knock at times is he’s going to have to play with a far greater motor.”
An ankle injury delayed Moultrie’s start to his rookie season, too. It also took the first-round pick a little while to find a fitness level to coach Doug Collins’ liking, as well. However, by the end of the season Moultrie was clocking steady minutes, going from 8.6 minutes per game before the All-Star break to nearly 20 minutes per game during the final month of the season.
According to Brown, Moultrie learned from his injury woes last season and has kept fit while rehabbing his ankle.
“I give him full credit for how he’s taken care of his fitness and his weight even though there has been no reward of getting on the court,” Brown said.
Moultrie is expected to return to practice in January, though Brown had no update on the timetable on Tuesday.