DALLAS - The 76ers maintain that Jrue Holiday is getting better, but that wasn't enough for them to clear the point guard to play Tuesday night against Dallas.

Holiday, who suffered a sprained left foot last Wednesday in a loss to Chicago, participated in the team's shootaround on Tuesday morning. He said afterward that his foot was sore, but he hoped to be cleared to play.

That clearance never came. The Sixers, who play 10 of their next 11 games on the road, are not taking any chances.

"We can't take this injury and make it a residual thing. We can't take an acute injury and make it chronic," Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "We have not had Andrew [Bynum] all year and we are going to miss Jrue some."

The Sixers want Holiday to come back when he is 100 percent healed. They don't want Holiday to overcompensate for his foot ailment, a situation that could lead to another injury.

"The guy's 22," said Collins, adding that Holiday might play Wednesday in Houston. "What am I going to do, put him out there and have him tear up his knee because he's playing on one foot? That would be really silly to try and win a game in December. Now do we want to win? Absolutely. But now is not a time that you panic. You can't take that approach. You just can't do it."

Emotional subject

Collins wiped away tears when the subject switched from basketball and turned to the school massacre in Newtown, Conn.

Collins has five grandchildren, and at least two of them are at just about every game and attend his postgame news conferences at the Wells Fargo Center.

Collins said that he has been trying to avoid some of the coverage, but before shootaround he caught some footage of an interview with a psychologist who took some children into his home after the tragedy.

"The man was crying," Collins said with tears in his eyes. "A trained man. They were asking him, 'How did you know what to say to these kids,' and he said, 'I learned from my grandkids.' And that just hit me hard. Hard.

"I took out my phone and started looking at pictures of my grandchildren, precious and innocent," Collins said. "Kate and Cooper, that's their age. I just looked at those pictures and I couldn't imagine. I couldn't imagine. Couldn't imagine."

Contact John N. Mitchell at jmitchell@philly.com. Follow @JmitchInquirer on Twitter