Moultrie practices for 1st time since surgery

Moultrie practices for 1st time since surgery
December 31, 2013, 8:30 pm
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Arnett Moultrie practiced for the first time since undergoing ankle surgery on Sept. 26. He's expected to return sometime in January. (USA Today Images)

DENVER -- The Sixers had their final practice in 2013 at the University of Denver preparing for their New Year’s Day matchup with the Nuggets.

And when they were playing five-on-five, Arnett Moultrie joined the team for the first time since undergoing ankle surgery on Sept. 26.

“I felt pretty good, glad to be out there making progress,” he said. “But obviously I am a little winded. I got winded just running up and down the court warming up.”

The second-year big appeared in 47 games as a rookie last year, averaging 3.7 points, 3.1 rebounds in 11.5 minutes. But those minutes came under Doug Collins.

Brett Brown is now in charge, and his knowledge of Moultrie is limited.

“Practices prior to training camp is the only thing they have seen from me,” Moultrie said about the new coaching staff. “And that was only a two-week stretch and then I got hurt.

“So this is a great opportunity for me. I am just glad to be back out there, 100 percent. I had no pain in my ankle so now I just have to get to get my conditioning back.

“Physically, I am fine. I had no problems running and jumping, or moving laterally so I am fine.”

Brown does not know exactly when Moultrie will see game action, but he said “sometime in the month of January.”

At 6-foot-11, Moultrie has NBA size. The power forward averaged a double-double in his third and final year in college at Mississippi State -- 16.4 points and 10.5 rebounds.

He may never put up those numbers at the pro level, but he knows what he needs to do to see game action.

“Coach came to me the other day and told me he wanted me to be aggressive -- grit and grind,” Moultrie said. “That is what I am going to try and do, get in there and rebound, bang in the paint and compete to win.”

Brown said he’s happy to see Moultrie inching closer to playing.

“There is a bounce, an energy, an athleticism that we would embrace with our current roster,” Brown said. “I know he is excited to come back and play, and I know his teammates are excited to have him come back and play, because it has been a long time coming.”