Collins 'shocked' by reaction to postgame rant


Collins 'shocked' by reaction to postgame rant

CHICAGO -- Prior to the start of Thursday’s nationally-televised game against the Chicago Bulls, the people in the hallways of the United Center were still talking about Doug Collins’ 11-minute postgame press conference following the Sixers’ 14-point loss to the Magic on Tuesday night (see story).

Two days later, Collins was shocked that his words had taken so many aback.

“I guess I was trending. I was viral and trending,” Collins joked. “What is all this stuff? It was interesting. I went back and I didn’t think I was hard. I thought I was talking about what I expected and as a coach that is what you do. There was nobody called out.

“I have never been a guy that if you lost a game but competed to your best, I was never disappointed. I have always been disappointed if we didn’t do everything we are capable of to win.

“I was trying to get the spin on this. How was it spun that I was so hard. I don’t think I did that at all. I think the players know that. We are a big honesty group and I think our guys know when you put a Sixers uniform on what is expected, but I was shocked. My phone was blowing up on me. I didn’t realize I had been so tough.”

At the morning shootaround, Collins’ players said they were aware of the head coach’s rant. They seemed indifferent that Collins took such a public platform to discuss the team’s ineptitude against the Magic.

“You don't want to put too much into it,” Spencer Hawes said. “Some of that is Doug being Doug, but he had some points, some good points, and we have to respond. I think after a game like that everyone wants to come out with a greater sense of urgency. That's just human nature. We know that is just not acceptable, especially at this point to put up an effort like that and really there are no excuses going forward. We just have to play better.”

Evan Turner took a more humorous approach to Collins’ criticism of the Sixers.

“It was one of the few times we were on ESPN and it was because of that,” Turner said. “Any other time it is about Andrew [Bynum] or his hair.

“It is whatever. It is people's opinion. I didn't read too much into it. I don't think my teammates did either. We understood what occurred, what went on during that game and that's it. When it rains it pours.”

Jahlil Okafor eager for more minutes as knee heals

Jahlil Okafor eager for more minutes as knee heals

CAMDEN, N.J. — Jahlil Okafor has been patient with his right knee. He was disciplined with restrictions and recovery during the preseason, recognizing the goal of being ready for opening night. 

At the same time, once he got back on the court he wanted more. Okafor played eight minutes Friday against the Heat, his first game since Feb. 28 before undergoing surgery to repair a right meniscus tear. 

“I don’t think I’m going to do eight again,” Okafor said Sunday. “They kind of heard me complain about that a lot. I think it’ll definitely be more than eight, but it won’t be much more.” 

Okafor has been limited since reaggravating his knee during the final day of training camp. He practiced “to tolerance” on Sunday, according to the Sixers. Okafor did not participate in the team scrimmage and worked out individually with assistant coach/head of strength and conditioning Todd Wright. 

The second-year big man did not feel soreness on Saturday following the game. On Sunday, he felt “kind of stiff” during practice. Brett Brown has been watching Okafor’s movement closely. While Okafor considered it to be “good,” Brown was a tougher critic. 

“I think he looked OK,” Brown said. “He didn’t look great to me today. I’ll give him a B-minus … It’s always how do you move? East, west, north, south, how do you move?” 

Okafor scored four points, one rebound, one assist, one block and one turnover in Miami. He focused on his defense during the game. When he subbed out, he checked in with Elton Brand on the bench to receive feedback from the now-retired veteran. Okafor plans to continue to tap into him for advice throughout the season. 

With opening night three days away, Okafor still plans to be on the floor for it.

“I am optimistic about it,” he said. “I should be ready to go.” 

Robert Covington sprained his right ankle in Friday’s game and did not practice Sunday. Brown anticipates Covington, who has been starting at small forward, also will be ready to go Wednesday. 

“I do (expect him to play),” Brown said. “But we won’t know that for sure yet.” 

Sixers waive retired Elton Brand
The Sixers waived Brand on Sunday, making his retirement official. Brand announced his intentions to walk away from the game Thursday. The Sixers' request of waivers was a procedural step. The roster currently stands at 19. 

“It’s been an honor, it’s been a privilege to play this game, the game that I love, and I’m certainly going to miss it,” Brand said last week (see story). “But it’s definitely time now.” 

Brand celebrated his career with his teammates at Komodo in Miami on Thursday night ahead of their preseason finale against the Heat. 

Report: Nerlens Noel expected out 3-5 weeks after left knee surgery

Report: Nerlens Noel expected out 3-5 weeks after left knee surgery

It appears the Sixers' frontcourt logjam may not be an issue early on.

Nerlens Noel, who is having surgery Monday for an inflamed plica in his left knee, will miss the first three to five weeks of the season, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Noel suffered a left groin injury in the first preseason game against the Celtics and missed the rest of the preseason. While undergoing treatment, Noel reported left knee soreness, which led to the discovery of the inflamed plica.

It's been an odd start to the season for Noel. The big man was outspoken about his displeasure with the Sixers' frontcourt situation early in camp. With the deadline for Noel's rookie contract extension approaching on Oct. 31, the team has not had conversations about it, according to a report.

The Sixers are already without No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons as he recovers from surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his right foot. The team will also be without their starting point guard Jerryd Bayless who is dealing with a ligament issue in his left wrist. Bayless won't require surgery and will be reevaluated in two weeks.