Allen Iverson spent some time jogging from baseline to baseline after the 76ers finished practicing yesterday at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
The night before, the 34-year-old guard had made his second debut in Philadelphia. Picked up as a free agent last Wednesday, Iverson made the first appearance of his second go-round with the Sixers in a 93-83 loss to the Denver Nuggets at the Wachovia Center.
After receiving a rousing welcome from the sellout crowd, Iverson went out and played a surprising 37 minutes in his first NBA game since being released by the Memphis Grizzlies last month. He scored 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting and picked up six assists and five rebounds.
"I was sore when I first got here, but after I ran around, it kind of went away," Iverson said yesterday. "I know it's something I'm going to have to deal with for a while. The most important thing is, once I get sore and stiff, I can run around and get right. I'm just taking it day-by-day. I know it'll be a tough process for me."
Iverson and coach Eddie Jordan agreed that the only way for the 13-year veteran to get in shape is through practice and games, without an extra conditioning program.
Iverson said he declined an offer from Jordan to take a break during practice yesterday.
"Doing the treadmill and other stuff doesn't measure up to playing," Jordan said. "You don't speed [the process] up. You just let it take its course. As long as he's doing his due diligence, it will come in time."
While Jordan no doubt is eager to see Iverson at full strength, his bigger concern is the 10-game losing streak that has dropped the Sixers' record to 5-16.
"A lot of times, it tests you the way you go about your job," Jordan said. "How you communicate with your teammates and coaches. Our guys are coming through it in that regard in flying colors. We just have to get things done on the basketball court."
After facing the team they traded Iverson to in 2006 - Denver - the Sixers will host Detroit (8-12) tonight. Iverson played for the Pistons last season.
It will be the second of five straight home games for the Sixers, who ended a five-game road trip at Charlotte on Saturday.
"What I tell them is to just stay positive," Jordan said. "I just don't want to be negative because we have enough negative with the record. I want too be positive in everything I say and every approach I take. I have to think in terms of 'Let's get better.' I've got a lot of responsibility to make that happen."
Notes. Rookie Jrue Holiday scrimmaged with the Sixers for the first time since going down with a strained right rotator cuff during practice Friday. Holiday, who has missed the team's last two outings, is listed as day-to-day.