Sixers' Richardson slowly making strides in rehab


Sixers' Richardson slowly making strides in rehab

There were so many new faces in the gym at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine for Friday’s Sixers’ media day that it was a good thing the players had their names on the backs of their uniforms.

Tony Wroten, Darius Morris, James Anderson, Rodney Williams, Vander Blue, Tim Ohlbrecht, Hollis Thompson … where did all those guys come from?

But wearing No. 23 was a familiar, though unexpected, face walking around the gym, which may be the only chance he has to touch the hardwood for another month or so.

Jason Richardson, the remaining piece of the deal that brought Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia, turned up for media day despite the fact that he probably will not play again until January at the earliest.

Recovering from cartilage-graft surgery to repair the quarter-sized hole behind his knee that allowed him to play just 33 games last year, Richardson said he hasn’t been able to run yet. The extent of his exercise has been on a stationary bike, the weight room, or in a swimming pool where the impact on his legs is minimal. As a result, the 12-year veteran added some more muscle to his frame.

The comeback is a slow process, Richardson said, because he opted for the cartilage transplant instead of the ever-popular microfracture surgery. Microfracture surgery is a short-term fix and many players who get it have to undergo it again in a few years. Though the recovery takes longer for the transplant, at least Richardson will be able to walk when he’s older.

“We are pushing late January, early February, hopefully to see how mentally I’m doing and how physically I’m doing,” Richardson said. “But right now, we are in a slow process.”

There’s no rush. The Sixers have time and chances are Richardson won’t be needed for a late-season playoff push. With an overhauled roster and the plans for a rebuilding year, Richardson can take his time. Besides, Richardson has another year left on his deal. With $6.2 million owed to him this season, Richardson has a player option for next year at $6.6 million.

“I’m just taking my time right now and taking a slow approach to it,” Richardson said.

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.

Anthem singer at Sixers-Heat game kneels during performance

Anthem singer at Sixers-Heat game kneels during performance

MIAMI — A woman performing the national anthem before an NBA preseason game in Miami on Friday night did so while kneeling at midcourt, and opening her jacket to show a shirt with the phrase "Black Lives Matter."

The singer was identified by the Heat as Denasia Lawrence. It was unclear if she remained in the arena after the performance, and messages left for her were not immediately returned.

Heat players and coaches stood side-by-side for the anthem, all with their arms linked as has been their custom during the preseason. Many had their heads down as Lawrence sang, and the team released a statement saying it had no advance knowledge that she planned to kneel.

"We felt as a basketball team that we would do something united, so that was our focus," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Throughout all of this, I think the most important thing that has come out is the very poignant, thoughtful dialogue. We've had great dialogue within our walls here and hopefully this will lead to action."

The anthem issue has been a major topic in the sports world in recent months, starting with the decision by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to not stand for its playing. Kaepernick cited racial injustice and police brutality among the reasons for his protest, and athletes from many sports -- and many levels, from youth all the way to professional -- have followed his lead in various ways.

"All I can say is what we've seen in multiple preseason games so far is our players standing for the national anthem," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in New York earlier Friday, at a news conference following the league's board of governors meetings. "It would be my hope that they would continue to stand for the national anthem. I think that is the appropriate thing to do."

The NBA has a rule calling for players and coaches to stand during the anthem.

Heat guard Wayne Ellington often speaks about the need to curb gun violence, after his father was shot and killed two years ago. He had his eyes closed for most of the anthem Friday, as per his own custom, though was aware of Lawrence's actions.

"At the end of the day, to each his own," Ellington said. "If she feels like that's the way she wants to stand for it, then more power to her."

Making a statement in the manner that Lawrence did Friday is rare, but not unheard of in recent weeks.

When the Sacramento Kings played their first home preseason game earlier this month, anthem singer Leah Tysse dropped to one knee as she finished singing the song.

Tysse is white. Lawrence is black.

"I love and honor my country as deeply as anyone yet it is my responsibility as an American to speak up against injustice as it affects my fellow Americans," Tysse wrote on Facebook. "I have sung the anthem before but this time taking a knee felt like the most patriotic thing I could do. I cannot idly stand by as black people are unlawfully profiled, harassed and killed by our law enforcement over and over and without a drop of accountability."