The 76ers said that there was no reason for alarm and that they just were exercising preventive maintenance in limiting guards Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams to noncontact drills during Thursday's practice at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Holiday is suffering from a left Achilles strain, and Williams has a left hamstring strain.

Both guards stressed that if the Sixers had been playing a regular-season game on Thursday, they would have taken the court.

"It's a little soreness there," Williams said of his hamstring.

He didn't sound overly concerned.

"You take a day off, and you're not trying to kill anybody," Williams said. "With as many games as we have in this condensed schedule, we want to be more healthy for the games than practice."

Holiday also experienced soreness in his Achilles earlier in camp but, like Williams, feels it is nothing to be alarmed about.

"It's a little sore, and coach [Doug Collins] didn't want to take a risk," Holiday said. ". . . The season is going to be crazy, and it's not really something you should fight through at this time."

Holiday played in the Sixers' two preseason wins over the Washington Wizards, averaging 18 points and 5.5 assists in 27.5 minutes. Last season, Holiday started all 82 games, averaging 14 points and 6.5 assists.

Williams also appeared in both preseason games, averaging 14.5 points and 20.0 minutes. Williams appeared in 75 games last season, averaging 13.7 points off the bench.

In games Williams missed last season, the Sixers were just 2-5.

Teams throughout the NBA likely will err on the side of caution with a 66-game schedule compacted into a four-month period.

The Sixers open the season on Monday in Portland against the Trail Blazers. The first five games are on the road, including the initial four in a six-day span.

"If a guy is not feeling 100 percent, he is not going to practice," Collins said. "We're not going to be playing [with] a team that isn't 100 percent, because that is our strength - our speed and quickness - and those two guys are vital."

Collins feels that Williams helps give the Sixers one of the top benches in the league. And he has long suggested that Holiday, now in his third season, will be a future all-star.

Collins is hoping that Holiday becomes a more vocal leader, which the coach said will be the next stage in his development.

"I put him in the position to speak a little bit, and that is something he hasn't done much, but I want our guys to hear his voice," Collins said. "He is our quarterback, and I want them to hear his voice."

And they need him on the court, which is why he got a breather on Thursday.