The range of motion in Elton Brand's right shoulder might be limited, but his sense of humor isn't.

When asked last night if he was disappointed he would most likely miss the 76ers' coming West Coast swing - including a homecoming of sorts at the Los Angeles Clippers - Brand deadpanned, "Yeah, definitely, I'm sad. I know all those fans wanted to wish me a Happy New Year, so I'm not going to be out there for that."

Brand spoke yesterday for the first time since he dislocated his right shoulder Wednesday night against Milwaukee, an injury he and the team said probably will keep him off the court for a month.

Brand said he wants to avoid surgery, and the doctors have told him his age - 29 - might help him do so.

"If you let it heal on its own, there's a chance it could pop out," Brand said of the conversation with doctors. "Or you could get it repaired surgically, but that's out for months. I definitely want to be back, whatever it is, to contribute to the team. I definitely don't want to do surgery."

Added Brand: "I talked to the doctors, and that's what they're saying. It's funny, being 29, they said, that's the age it won't pop out again. If I was younger, then it's probably surgery, but because I'm older, I don't know, maybe they're just trying to make me feel good."

Brand said he can't be fearful upon his return. He will still need to dive on the floor, and try to block shots, just like he was doing Wednesday night when the injury occurred while defending against Luc Mbah a Moute.

"He had nine points in the first half, and I was like, 'He's not scoring again, I'm going to get this block,' " Brand said. "And I remember just getting pump-faked and coming down on the court. I didn't know [the shoulder] was out, but I knew it was hurt, and I knew it was hurt really bad."

Brand said when he got to the locker room, the Sixers trainer said, "Don't worry, we'll put it back in," to which Brand responded, "Put what in?"

That's when Brand knew the shoulder was dislocated.

This injury is the second this season for Brand, and third in the last year or so. Earlier this month, Brand missed two games with a strained right hamstring. And last year with the Clippers, he missed all but eight games with a torn Achilles tendon.

"Guys that have had injuries in the past, guys like Willie Green and Theo Ratliff, have come talked to me," Brand said. "When it's back to back like that, you have to stay upbeat. I told them, 'Just keep winning ball games, winning games we're supposed to win, and win some games that on paper we're not supposed to win.' And I'd be happy. Because I'm a member of this team and when I get back, I'd be ready to just slip right in."

Brand said he had slight improvement during yesterday's rehabilitation, and there will be a reevaluation of his status before the team leaves for its Western trip, which begins Dec. 26 at Denver.

After watching Friday's win over the Washington Wizards, Brand said he is impressed with the team's running ability.

"Of course, we're running, we've always said we wanted to run," Brand said. "We were top five [in fastbreak points] even when I was there, so I expect us to, of course, keep that up, and maybe even go higher with Thaddeus Young and that athletic group out there that can run the floor."