In a month filled with mostly bad news, yesterday the 76ers got some much-needed relief: Center
returned to the court, and point guard
looks poised to do the same.
Last night against the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Wachovia Center, Speights played in a game for the first time in just over a month. Earlier in the day, Williams, who has been out for three weeks, had the wires removed from his broken jaw.
Speights had not played since suffering a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee in a Nov. 14 game against Chicago. He was expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks, but he returned in fewer than five.
Before he was hurt, Speights was averaging 13.0 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
"We think he's going to be really energetic," Sixers coach Eddie Jordan said. "He's going to be good for about two or three minutes and then probably get winded. We just want him to attack with some composure, and that's probably going to be hard because he's so excited."
Williams, expected to miss eight weeks, also could be ahead of schedule. Jordan said the guard might practice today.
A Jordan kind of guy
At the beginning of this season, the Cavs'
announced that next season he would switch from No. 23 to No. 6 in honor of former Chicago Bulls guard
. James urged other players around the league who wear No. 23 to switch.
The suggestion led to some questions, especially considering that No. 6 was worn by such legends as Boston's Bill Russell and the Sixers' Julius Erving.
Last night, James was asked if there should be a similar push for No. 13, worn by Sixers great Wilt Chamberlain.
"I'm a guy who grew up in the Jordan era, so I'm biased to the Jordan era," James said. "I didn't get an opportunity to see Wilt. . . . You grow up in the '80s, the mid-'90s, playing basketball, all you know is Jordan. So I'm a Jordan guy."
, not having far to travel from his news conference at Citizens Bank Park, attended last night's Sixers game.
- Kate Fagan