Despite all the changes, Thad Young still thriving

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Despite all the changes, Thad Young still thriving

Glen “Big Baby” Davis came barreling down the lane on Tuesday night, dribbling the basketball with all 289 pounds of him taking aim directly at Thaddeus Young.

Davis seemed stunned when Young timed his vertical leap perfectly to get in the air and block what would have been the go-ahead basket for the Magic with 2:11 to play in the fourth quarter.

With 33 seconds left, Young drove the lane himself just as Davis had done, only the Sixer forward’s quickness allowed him to leave his defender in the dust and make a left-hook bank shot.

Young’s shot was supposed to seal the game. As it turned out, that bucket only allowed the Sixers to reach the first overtime after Davis hit his first three-pointer in two years to force the extra session.

Young didn’t let that discourage him as he ended up with 25 points and 12 rebounds to help the Sixers claim a 126-125 win over the Magic in double overtime.

Young is 25 years old and playing for his fifth coach in seven years. He’s gone from starter to reserve and back to starter again during his career.

The lefty forward was allowed to shoot from the outside and then asked not to. Now that the door has been opened again under Sixers head coach Brett Brown.

Such a whirlwind might have frustrated other players, but Young has simply been able to take on every obstacle.

“I feel like he is starting to figure out how his new coach is going to use him and him use himself,” Brown said. “I see the evolution of him slowly embracing roles and accepting how he can help the team.

Young flashed just how much he is adapting to Brown’s system during his stellar effort in Tuesday’s victory.

“He was fantastic. We are going to remember him catching and going on two big layups at big moments in the game,” Brown said. “We are going to remember him stepping out and making some threes.”

“But what I remember is him engaged in timeouts and making sure all the young guys are on point with our pick-and-roll defense and how we are going to guard the post and him making sure he would perfectly execute whatever play we drew. He was engaged right across the board and he showed tremendous character, tremendous leadership, and the stats will show skill.”

At 25, Young is still youthful in age and an elder statesman all at the same time. While he has come to grips with another new coaching style, Young has also realized that he must now be the one to help instruct teammates put them on the right path.

“It is definitely different. We have a lot more young guys, so paying attention to detail in timeouts and coming into games, knowing the scouting reports, that is huge,” Young said. “When a team figures out a weak link, they are going to take advantage. When they figure out which weakness ours is, they will take advantage of us. So we can ill afford miscues.”

Orthopedist on Sixers' Ben Simmons' injury: 'The prognosis is good'

Orthopedist on Sixers' Ben Simmons' injury: 'The prognosis is good'

On Friday, Sixers fans got some bad news when the team revealed that No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot.

The Sixers didn't give a timetable for his return, saying that they were reviewing treatment options for the 6-foot-10 point-forward.

As a guest on CSNPhilly's Sportsnet Central, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Mark Schwartz gave a little insight into Simmons' injury. Schwartz is not treating Simmons, but has dealt with similar injuries. Schwartz believes the prognosis is good for the Sixers' rookie.

"The big question is where the exact location of this fracture is," Schwartz said. "That will dictate the prognosis and the treatment. If it's at the base of the fifth metatarsal, it's usually a non-surgical treatment. It's usually a cast/boot for six to eight weeks and return to play somewhere around eight weeks."

That would be great news considering Sixers fans didn't get to see Nerlens Noel the year he was drafted and are still awaiting the debut of 2014 draft pick Joel Embiid. 

Schwartz warns that the injury could be something known as a Jones fracture, which would likely require surgery and the recovery could be three to four months. The prognosis would still be good, according to Schwartz, but other NBA players have had lengthy recoveries with a similar injury.

"The prognosis is still good, but we know that Kevin Durant had a Jones fracture and he was out for an entire season because of it not healing," Schwartz said. "But the prognosis is good, however, the question is whether it's going to require surgery or not."

For more from Schwartz on Simmons' injury and possible timetable, check out the video above.

Ben Simmons suffers fractured bone in right foot

Ben Simmons suffers fractured bone in right foot

As the Sixers get two bigs back from injury, another goes down.

First overall pick Ben Simmons suffered a fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone of his right foot on Friday. Simmons rolled his right ankle during the team’s final training camp scrimmage at Stockton University.

Simmons underwent an X-ray and MRI on his right foot and ankle. Sixers head physician Dr. Christopher Dodson and Sixers chief medical officer and co-chief of sports medicine orthopedics at New York's Mount Sinai Medical Center Dr. Jonathan Glashow reviewed the images.

Simmons’ timetable to return is to be determined. The Sixers are considering further medical evaluation and treatment options. 

Landing the No. 1 pick and selecting Simmons was the highlight of the Sixers’ next chapter. They were supposed to be healthy this time around as they entered a new phase following a 10-72 season. 

The news of the fracture adds to years of injury-related setbacks. Nerlens Noel missed his entire rookie season rehabbing from an ACL injury. After undergoing two foot injuries in as many years, the 2014 third overall pick Joel Embiid is slated to make his NBA debut Oct. 4 against the Celtics in preseason action. Jahlil Okafor is also expected to play next Tuesday for the first time since his season-ending knee surgery in March. 

The Sixers drafted Simmons to become a focal point of their system. At 6-foot-10, 250 pounds, he is a point-forward with the potential to change the look of a lineup. During training camp Brown experimented with multiple combinations, including playing Simmons at the point, shooting guard and small forward. 

Brown called the two-three combination of Simmons and Dario Saric “6-10, do-alls” (see story)

Simmons, 20, impressed his teammates during camp. In just four days of practices, it was easy for them to see how Simmons would improve the Sixers. 

“He’s really physical,” Joel Embiid said. “He’s just a big presence. When he pushes the ball, you can feel it. He makes you want to go with him. … He’s so fast and he’s so big.” 

Said Nerlens Noel, “He just plays basketball the right way. When your big man does that, it makes it a lot easier because he is very versatile being a point-forward type. That opens up a lot of things for him to be able to open up for his teammates."

The Sixers will be faced with filling a role they haven’t actually had yet. They had gameplans of how to utilize Simmons, but they were implemented only in training camp. The Sixers have a frontcourt logjam which will allow them to plug in other players at the power forward spot. They also can fill his experimented role on the wings with traditional shooters. But his absence will eliminate versatile lineups in which players are essentially “positionless,” a Warriors-style of play that causes mismatches of size and skills. 

Even though the Sixers have an abundance of bigs, Embiid and Okafor will be monitored for minutes at the start of the season. Throw in Simmons’ injury and this creates opportunities for other frontcourt players such as Richaun Holmes and Elton Brand. With Simmons absence, there also could be more minutes for Saric to play his natural position at power forward. 

Simmons wasn’t letting himself get too far ahead as he entered his first NBA season. He has been taking each day one at a time with an excitement of the newness of his rookie year.

“I think it’s still surreal for me,” Simmons said on Media Day. “I think it’ll finally hit me once I step on the court matched up against OKC the first game.”

Now it remains to be seen when Simmons will play his first game.