It was revealed over the weekend that the 76ers will be without assistant coach David Joerger for several weeks as he undergoes chemotherapy and radiation treatment to combat a form of cancer in his head and neck.
Joerger entered treatment two weeks ago and could be away from the team for a month or two. Before separating from the team, Joerger said he wants to use his platform to raise awareness and support the fight against cancer.
“Over the last few months, I learned the importance of self-evaluation and care, early detections and annual medical exams,” Joerger said in a statement. “I know I will beat this diagnosis with the help of my world-class medical team.”
Joerger shared the news with Sixers coach Doc Rivers eight weeks ago and later informed the team. Rivers, Tyrese Maxey, and others expressed support for Joerger and said they know he will win his fight with cancer.
“All of us have been touched,” Rivers said. “I guarantee you everyone in this room has been touched somewhere by cancer. My dad passed with it. So it’s just a tough disease.
“Fortunately for Dave, he’s on top of his health. It was detected early. And, again, he’s going to be fine.”
— Inquirer Sports Staff, @phillysport
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Bryce Harper had a special season in 2021, and on Thursday he will find out if it was good enough to win him his second National League MVP award. There’s no doubt he’s one of the game’s biggest stars, but is he on a path to the Hall of Fame? The Inquirer dived into the numbers to see how Harper stacks up with similar players after 5,000 career plate appearances and tried to forecast where he might end up in his quest for Cooperstown. Is he closer to Reggie Jackson or Dale Murphy?
Nick Sirianni is clearly improving. He has made adjustments as a play-caller, enabling the Eagles’ running game to flourish while playing to Jalen Hurts’ strengths. And however you view his motivational efforts, the team seems to be responding to him. Now after a road win against the Broncos, the first-year coach has the Eagles in the hunt for a playoff spot.
What’s next? We’ll have to see if Sirianni’s humility in recognizing his errors earlier in the season will continue. Will he stick with adapting to the personnel he has? Or will he be lured into going back to a pass-happy offense with an improving Hurts?
Hurts, who was a factor in having the Eagles wear their winning uniform combo on Sunday, might be missing Dallas Goedert, as the tight end remains in the concussion protocol. But Sirianni doesn’t blame the Broncos for the hit that probably should have drawn at least a penalty.
Off the Dribble
When will Ben Simmons rejoin the 76ers? While that’s a question everyone in Philly would like the answer to, how the Sixers reincorporate him into the team is just as important.
Team chemistry has been a big topic at the Wells Fargo Center recently. How would that environment withstand Simmons’ return? Members of the team have been honest about their expectations, saying there would be an “adjustment” period after players settled into a daily routine and playing rotation. But the Sixers could use Simmons at the moment, as they’ve had players in and out of the lineup because of COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Simmons’ presence might ruffle feathers, but his talent would be a plus during a tough time. Then again, the Sixers’ starting to fine Simmons again might be evidence that the club is done playing nice.
Next: The Sixers play the Utah Jazz on the road tonight at 10 (NBCSP+). Georges Niang, who played four seasons in Salt Lake City, will return to his former home arena for the first time.
On the Fly
Ryan Ellis returned to the lineup Saturday after missing nine games, but his return was short-lived. On Monday, the team announced that Ellis is week-to-week with an undisclosed injury suffered on Saturday. The high-profile offseason addition has played just four of the Flyers’ 13 games.
If the Flyers need help on the blue line, they could bring back 78-year-old Joe Watson! The original Flyer skated Monday in the team’s Orange & Black alumni game, alongside legends such as Eric Lindros, John LeClair, Mark Howe, and Reggie Leach.
Next: The Flyers host the Calgary Flames tonight at 7 (NBCSP). The team will induct Paul Holmgren and Rick Tocchet into the Flyers Hall of Fame before the game.
The wizard of the United States men’s national team, Weston McKennie, is forced to don an invisibility cloak for today’s World Cup qualifying game against Jamaica (TV: Universo, Paramount+), since he is out on yellow-card accumulation. The Americans will look to avoid a letdown after their thrilling defeat of Mexico on Friday. Teams are getting to the nitty-gritty of qualification, with more tickets punched or ripped up than ever.
Next: The Union start their MLS playoff quest this week, while the NWSL determines a champion.
Worth a look
A rising heavyweight from South Philly, Sonny Conto is having fun with Rocky comparisons. Similar to Rocky Balboa, he is undersized but packs a punch. But Conto is a real fighter with real hopes of making a name for himself.
Norm Eavenson, a high school talent evaluator and huge presence on the local basketball scene, died Sunday. He was 74. The Inquirer’s Mike Jensen writes about his personal experience with a Philadelphia-area legend.