A little over a month after partially tearing the MCL in his left knee, forward Marreese Speights was back in uniform last night, though, for the time being he will be restricted to limited minutes.
Speights played 22 minutes and scored 14 points on 5-for-11 shooting in the 108-101 loss to the Cavs.
Also yesterday, guard Lou Williams had the wires keeping his broken jaw together cut.
When those two are back at 100 percent, and with the addition of Allen Iverson, coach Eddie Jordan has some new weapons.
"It really is exciting," said Jordan of the prospect of having a full, healthy roster again. "It's exciting because you get guys back with Allen. They haven't played with Allen. The way Allen played the other night [Monday], it's another look on the floor and the things that he does as a veteran leader and defensively. It's going to be exciting."
Speights had practiced with the team four times before last night's return. In the 10 games before his injury, he was averaging 13 points and 6.4 rebounds in 23.4 minutes.
"I'm still about a week off," Speights said, "but it feels great. My trainer says it's not about percentages, it's about how you feel. It feels pretty good. We'll see how it goes."
Speights doesn't expect his early success to come back to his game right away.
"Your timing, after being out for a month, your timing is off. It will probably take a couple of games to get back where I was. I don't know how many minutes [he'll play], coach just said it's limited minutes. It's pretty good, no swelling or anything like that."
And once everyone is back, what is the game plan for Jordan?
"One win at a time, that's the only master plan I've got, one win at a time," the coach said.
At yesterday's shootaround, Jordan said he still wasn't sure who his starting five would be that night. He confirmed before the game that rookie Jrue Holiday would stay among the starters and that Elton Brand would come off the bench, the same starting lineup that helped the Sixers break a 12-game losing streak on Monday against Golden State. Jordan likes the speed that the backcourt tandem of Holiday and Iverson brings.
"You establish the way you want to play and you do it against anybody," Jordan said. "That's how you want to find a strength and that's what we're trying to do. We think if we can run and keep a pace it's good for us. We're not powerful or strong in the post. Sammy is quick and Thad is light and we want to make sure it's an open game and we can use our quickness and space on the floor. To do that you have to open the floor up."
Other injury updates
Guard Allen Iverson (left knee) and Andre Iguodala (rib contusion) only did the walk through part at yesterday's shootaround, but were fine for the game.
As for Lou Williams, Jordan said: "He had his wires cut off and now he has the bands, so he has a little relief as far as opening his jaw, but not totally. We think he's going to try and practice [today]."