PHOENIX - On Wednesday night against the Phoenix Suns, the 76ers returned Lou Williams to the lineup but were still without Andre Iguodala.
Williams, who missed the previous two games to witness the birth of his daughter, took a private plane from Philadelphia on Wednesday morning and landed in Phoenix hours before the start of the game.
Iguodala, who did not participate in the morning shoot-around, remained on the inactive list for the second straight game, suffering from right Achilles tendinitis.
"Still have some soreness," Iguodala explained. "Just something that flared up again and I haven't been able to play comfortably."
Iguodala missed a handful of games earlier in the season and said the pain had been "in and out" before the leg stiffened up against the Boston Celtics on Dec. 22.
Sixers coach Doug Collins said he thought the injury was in the rearview mirror and hoped it wasn't something that would linger all season.
"We thought we had it under control and I don't know what happened," Collins said. "I don't think we've overpracticed and I don't think his minutes have been too much. I don't know if it's wear and tear from playing this summer, but I sure hope not. We desperately need him."
Collins seemed relieved to have Williams back, providing at least some of the scoring punch the team missed during Monday's road loss to the Golden State Warriors. Collins said that without both Williams and Iguodala, the team "bleeds points."
"I was able to watch the Denver game, but they didn't have the Golden State game in the hospital," Williams said. "So I ran to Applebee's, caught the first half, and ran back to the hospital."
Williams' daughter was born Tuesday night.
"I appreciate [Collins] allowing me the opportunity to witness the birth of my first child," Williams said. "That's really something you can't get back."
Without Iguodala, Collins went with a starting lineup of Jrue Holiday, Jodie Meeks, Andres Nocioni, Elton Brand, and Spencer Hawes. Collins deactivated forward Darius Songaila and activated forward Jason Kapono.
The road swing
Wednesday's game was the sixth game on the team's eight-game road trip, which will continue with games against the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Hornets.
After last week's trade with the Orlando Magic, the Suns (13-16) are in the process of adapting to a revamped roster that includes guard Vince Carter, who started Wednesday, big man Marcin Gortat, and forward Mickael Pietrus.
"We can't really play .500 basketball from here on out," said Suns point guard Steve Nash. "It's a good time of the year for us to make a run."
- Kate Fagan