Dr. J Has High Hopes for 2011-12 Sixers After Home Opening Victory

Dr. J Has High Hopes for 2011-12 Sixers After Home Opening Victory

Philadelphia is a town that loves to talk about the legendary teams from years past that helped turn our city into the sports-crazed town it is today. The Broad Street Bullies are almost mythical deities at this point. The '93 Phils were the most lovable bunch of dirtballs I've ever cheered for. Buddy Ryan's Eagles are revered like no other team that won so little when it truly mattered. The Allen Iverson-led Eastern Conference Championship team brought an entire city together more so than any in my lifetime.

The new Sixers ownership wasn't kidding with their new tagline -- at least the "Proud" portion of it -- as they showcased their historical greatness in a way never seen at the Wells Fargo Center.

The organization made a big deal about revamping their entire pregame production, including player intros. The Sixers' players that got the loudest ovations for their home opener on Friday night were youngsters Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner. Well, that's if you don't count the legends in the building. Julius Erving, Moses Malone, and later Andrew Toney were treated to tremendous applause from the near-sellout crowd of 19,408 at the Wells Fargo Center.

After Bernie Parent, Eric Lindros, Bobby Clarke, and a gaggle of other Flyers legends got tremendous standing O's at the Winter Classic Alumni Game just a few days ago, us Philly sports fans are getting spoiled a bit in terms of getting to cheer our heroes long after their playing days have ended.

The Doc didn't just take in the 96-73 Sixers victory over the lowly Detroit Pistons, he also shared his thoughts on the current iteration of the 76ers, touting them as a team that can really benefit from flying under the radar. Erving said that the fact that they don't have to deal with the hype of teams like the Heat or Lakers, that it can really afford them the luxury of focusing solely on their game.

"Forget about the hype," Julius said. "Just win."

The Doctor also talked about the shortened season and how the condensed schedule will benefit teams with a lot of youth like the Sixers.

"Aside from Elton, they're a bunch of babies out there," Erving said, in a positive way. "They can play back-to-back-to-backs" and not be as exhausted as older teams.

Where did the Doc think this Sixers team could finish this season? Try third in the East.

It wasn't simply about a night for the old legends to come in and see what the kids today play like while the fans are wowed by their being in the building, however. The presence of greatness was not lost on the current Sixers' squad.

"To see some of my old teammates back, it was great to see them be here tonight," Doug Collins said. "For our guys to have a chance to be around greatness, for our fans to recognize those guys. I was so happy Andrew Toney was here. Trying to get him back in the mix. It was a proud night for our franchise. I know the game wasn't pretty. They're not all going to be pretty, but at the end of the day we were able to find a way to win."

Elton Brand, the elder statesman of the team, realizes this isn't the type of thing that happens frequently, "It's a special feeling when you see Dr. J at the game, Moses Malone, Andrew Toney. It was a great feeling to see those guys come back. They haven't been around much at all, at least while I've been here."

Evan Turner, who finished the night with 8 points and 8 boards off the bench, summed the night up pretty nicely.

"It was cool for them to take the time to come to the game. We want to give them a reason to come back," Turner said.

Temple's Trey Lowe to redshirt as recovery from car accident continues

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Temple's Trey Lowe to redshirt as recovery from car accident continues

Temple head coach Fran Dunphy had a feeling some bad news would come regarding guard Trey Lowe's status for the coming season. On Friday, it was made official.

Lowe, a freshman who suffered serious upper-body injuries in a single-car crash in his native New Jersey last February, will miss all of the 2016-17 season and take a medical redshirt as he continues to recover, Dunphy announced on Friday.

"We all feel that this is in the best interest for Trey, as a person, a basketball player and a student," Dunphy said in a statement released by the university. "We feel at this time that concentrating on his rehabilitation this year will give him the best chance to come back strong and healthy for 2017-18. Trey will still be a big part of the team during this redshirt year, while continuing to work with our medical and strength team in preparation for his full return to action.”

Lowe was just starting to come into his own at the collegiate level around the time of the unfortunate accident. In a Feb. 17 game at the Liacouras Center against then-No.1 and eventual national champion Villanova, Lowe dropped a career-high 21 points. Though the Owls lost, 83-67, Lowe had made an impact and earned the trust of Dunphy, which isn't easy to do as a freshman.

A three-star recruit, Lowe played in all 28 games, including five starts, prior to his injury and averaged 4.8 points and 1.8 assists in 12.3 minutes per game. He would be a redshirt sophomore if he's ready to return for the 2017-18 season.

The absence of Lowe will leave the Owls particularly thin at guard this year. You may recall senior point guard Josh Brown, who was to be counted on as the Owls' leader this season, tore his Achilles tendon during an offseason workout. His status for this season is still unknown as he continues to rehab from his injury.

Junior forward Obi Enechionyia, who averaged 11 points per game last season, is Temple's leading returning scorer.

The onus to produce at guard will be placed on redshirt senior Daniel Dingle and sophomore Shizz Alston, Jr. True freshmen Quinton Rose and Alani Moore will also likely have to chip in.

They have just over a month to get ready. Temple hosts La Salle in both schools' season opener on Friday, Nov. 11 at the Liacouras Center.

Sixers' Ben Simmons suffers fractured bone in right foot

Sixers' 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 number one 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.