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Iverson's minutes to be "monitored"

We're a few minutes from tonight's tip off here at the Wachovia Center: 76ers vs. Houston Rockets.

Sixers have lost 11 in a row, are 5-17, and haven't won since Nov. 18.

Here's the latest from the Sixers. First the good, then the bad (although the bad might also be good depending on how you feel).

1.) The good: Talked to Marreese Speights tonight. He said he's seeing the doctor after tonight's game in hopes he's cleared to practice. If he gets cleared, he should be able to practice tomorrow. Not sure exactly the timetable for his return to games, but he seems to be ahead of the timetable initially set. The Sixers were saying 6 weeks from Nov. 14, when Speights partially tore the medial collateral ligament in his left knee.

Also good, rookie Jrue Holiday has been cleared to play tonight. Holiday missed the previous 3 games with a right rotator cuff strain. Sixers coach Eddie Jordan said he'd try to get Holiday in the action as soon as possible.

2.) The bad?: Jordan just said that going forward they'll have to "monitor" Allen Iverson's minutes, play him in 6 to 8 minute bursts, totaling no more than 32 to 35 minutes a game. Jordan said Iverson has a sore shin. He also said "Allen isn't Allen" yet, which I think we could all see from watching the games. The only question is whether Allen can be Allen again, ever.

This second news isn't necessarily bad, especially considering Holiday can play tonight and needs to get some minutes, anyway. Plus, Iverson only played 33 minutes in the loss to the Detroit Pistons and 37 in the loss to the Denver Nuggets. So it's not a huge downgrade.

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