When the 76ers gather Friday morning for their shootaround in preparation for the night's game at the Wells Fargo Center against the Atlanta Hawks, they will be guardedly looking for an early Christmas gift.
In the throes of a season-high five-game losing streak, losers of eight of their last 10, and two games into a string that sees them playing 10 of 11 on the road, the Sixers desperately need to get some good news concerning Andrew Bynum's knee examination Thursday.
"Hopefully, it will be something encouraging," Sixers forward Thaddeus Young said Wednesday.
Bynum had a full examination of his knees - including MRIs - conducted by David Altchek in New York. The Sixers plan to release the results Friday.
Bynum, who has bone bruises on both knees and has a degenerative condition in the cartilage of both, has not played since the Sixers acquired him as part of a four-team, 12-player trade in August.
Bynum, however, is not the only injury problem facing the Sixers, who did not practice Thursday, one day after giving up a season-high 125 points in a 22-point loss to the Houston Rockets.
Already without leading scorer Jrue Holiday (18.4 points) for the last four games because of a sprained left foot, the Sixers lost second-leading scorer Evan Turner (15.1 points) to a sprained left ankle against the Rockets.
Turner, who suffered the injury with 9 minutes, 6 seconds left in the third quarter, felt good enough to try to return to the game. Not happy with the way Turner was moving, coach Doug Collins pulled him from the game shortly thereafter, and he did not return.
Both Turner and Holiday are being listed as game-time decisions for Friday night. That is how the Sixers have listed Holiday in each of the four games that he has missed.
Roman Catholic and Villanova standout Maalik Wayns, a rookie, got his first start as a pro against the Rockets. Wayns, however, hurt his right foot (X-rays came back negative) and he is also listed as a game-time decision.
Friday's game against the Hawks marks the return to the Wells Fargo Center of Lou Williams - the Sixers' leading scorer (14.9 points) last season, despite coming off the bench. After beginning the season 3-4, the Hawks have gotten hot, having won 12 of their last 16 games. Williams, who spent his first seven seasons in Philadelphia, is averaging 14.3 points.