Leighton Out a Month, Lappy Still Suffering From Post-Concussion Symptoms

Leighton Out a Month, Lappy Still Suffering From Post-Concussion Symptoms

In a conference call this afternoon, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren announced that goalie Michael Leighton has a bulging disc in his lower back, and it will likely keep him out of action for about a month. Ian Laperriere, who suffered dramatic facial lacerations and a brain injury in last season's playoffs, is out indefinitely with post-concussion symptoms. Not exactly what we'd consider encouraging news with the 2010-2011 season nearing.

Leighton's disc is not believed to be herniated or to require surgery, but the condition is uncomfortable and a little unpredictable for anyone, much less an NHL goalie. Leights will continue in a strengthening and rehab program, and just give the disc time to heal. Lappy's symptoms are alarming, and he admitted to Homer that he hadn't been completely honest about them earlier in the summer. Given the severity of the injury this past spring and the fact that the symptoms are still lingering, there's reason to be concerned, and no option but to have the player shut down.

An amazing part of the Flyers' run to the Stanley Cup Finals was their ability to weather a series of significant injuries to key contributors, both all season and throughout the playoffs. So far, it looks like another run will have to involve a similar resiliency and ability to count on depth. Brian Boucher was a tremendous asset with Leighton unable to start the playoffs, until he himself was injured and Leighton had to resume his role. Behind Boosh on the depth chart, Johan Backlund is recovering from a hip surgery, but Homer indicated his process is going well, and that the team hopes to have Backlund see some preseason action. Sergei Bobrovsky has had as much attention as any Flyer in his first action with the team, but he must still get acclimated to the North American game. Still, his progress is encouraging, and after seeing seven different goalie dress for the Flyers last season, we'll take any encouragement we can get between the pipes.

The Flyers are also very deep in their forward lines, with new faces joining the club this off-season and Bill Guerin looking increasingly likely to make the team. More as we hear it.

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Being immersed in the team is important for Nerlens Noel, and so is continuing his rehab. 

While the Sixers are on the road for three days to play the Grizzlies and Pelicans, Noel will remain in Philadelphia to work out at the training complex in Camden, New Jersey. The team is not scheduled to practice in between games, so staying back allows Noel another day to get on the court.

“[I want him to] just start playing more and have a ball in his hands, get hit, physical, feel people, play one-on-one,” head coach Brett Brown said.

Noel has yet to play this season because of elective arthroscopic left knee surgery in October. He rejoined the Sixers after completing the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Alabama. There still is no timetable for his return. 

Brown has said there is a “classroom” element to Noel’s return. He has to learn a roster with new players and schemes. 

The on-the-court side of it is a reacclimation to the intensity of the league. Regardless of how many games Noel already has played in the NBA, there is an adjustment period getting back into the grind of the competition. Brown believes the time in the gym this week will help Noel prepare for the level of intensity he will face in his return. 

“It’s such fool’s gold to think somebody’s going to jump back into NBA basketball after you haven’t played for so long. I don’t care how athletic he is,” Brown said. “It’s a man’s world, this league, and there’s a physicality and there’s a real-time reaction you have to have to play in the game. You can’t make that up in practice, you can’t make that up playing one-on-one, but you can better position him instead of just going out to get shots. I want him to feel a body, get hit, hit back, play one-on-one, those types of things.”

Noel had been assigned to the Sixers’ Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers, to get in practice time when the Sixers had a game. The Sixers may forego another assignment and keep Noel at their facility as the Sevens also have two games in the next three days. 

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

BOX SCORE

Joel Embiid has been making the NBA look easy. Rookie of the Month honors, five double-doubles in 13 games, seven performances of 20 points or more … all having missed the last two years rehabbing from foot injuries.

Embiid, though, still is a player learning the league. Night’s like Monday’s lackluster showing are going to happen, even if it seemed unexpected against the struggling Denver Nuggets. 

“We’ve been used to seeing Jo have superhuman nights,” Brett Brown said after the Sixers’ 106-98 loss (see Instant Replay). “I thought Joel was down tonight.” 

Embiid tallied a total 16 points (5 for 15 from the field, 1 for 3 from three, 5 for 6 from the line) with four rebounds, one assist, a career-high five blocks, three turnovers and three fouls in 25:32. 

He had a quiet first half with six points (2 for 5 from the field) and one rebound in 9:21. The biggest struggle came in the third quarter. Embiid scored a single point off a free throw and shot 0 for 6 from the floor. By the end of three, he was shooting 18.2 percent. 

The big man said he needed to be better at passing out of the double team. He committed two turnovers in the third. 

“I wasn’t getting to my spot and I wasn’t getting what I’m used to getting,” Embiid said of the first three quarters. “I’m going to go back and watch the tape and see what I did wrong.” 

Embiid bounced back for another Embiid-like offensive effort in the fourth. He dropped nine points off an efficient 3 for 4 shooting in 7:31. Still, it wasn’t enough. 

“I made a couple shots,” Embiid said. “It didn’t help us win, so I don’t think it matters.”

Brown noticed Embiid rushing his game. He also thought Embiid’s balance was off, something the big man has been dealing with all season as he continues to find his legs. 

Embiid will not play in Tuesday's game against the Grizzlies. It is part of his workload management in which he does not play both games of a back-to-back. Expect him to hone in on game film until his next matchup, and get back on the roller coaster that can be a first year in the NBA. 

“It's just part of a young man's growth,” Brown said. “It just happens. I don't think we need to read too deeply into it. I think, in many ways, to expect from time to time not as good of a performance as we have been used to is fair enough.”