Talk about Nik Stauskas possibly playing for the 76ers in the preseason finale Friday against the Boston Celtics was nothing more than wishful thinking.
The shooting guard has been sidelined since Oct. 2 with a stress reaction in his right leg (tibia). The team confirmed Tuesday that he will not play in the exhibition in New Hampshire. The hope is that he'll face the Celtics in the season opener on Oct. 28 at TD Garden.
"I want to be out there [Friday], but I trust our training staff and I trust our doctors," Stauskas said. "I've been making a lot of progress. I feel really good and started to become active, again, running and jumping and whatnot.
"But with an injury like this, they just wanted to make sure that it's healed all the way so it doesn't nag me throughout the 82-game season."
Stauskas did not practice with teammates Tuesday at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Instead, he worked on cutting, shooting and finishing at the basket. The 6-foot-6, 205-pounder also spent some time on the antigravity treadmill.
"Like with the ways things have been progressing and the way I have been feeling, I think I will be ready" for the opener, Stauskas. "At the end of the day, that's going to be up to our training staff to see if they feel that's the best thing.
"But I'm eager to play in that game for sure."
The Sixers acquired Stauskas as part of a trade with the Sacramento Kings in July. The hope is that he can provide perimeter shooting to help create space for post players Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor.
However, he participated in only the first 21/2 days of training camp and will have missed all of the preseason games.
"I'm looking forward to seeing him," Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "Obviously, I feel like I haven't seen him in three years. But he's only been with me for a month."
Noel and Okafor
In preparation for the opener, Noel and Okafor worked on posting up, playing off each and spacing on Tuesday.
"I thought the thing that came out most today is they can pass," Brown said. "And they can really pass to each other. And that big-big relationship is common in all big-big teams."
Their relationship and ability to work well together was evident Sunday in a 92-91 preseason setback to the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center. Early in the second half, Okafor found Noel on an alley-oop in transition.
While that play drew raves, Brown wants to perfect how his 6-foot-11 post players coexist and space in a half-court game.
"Fortunately I have a lot of experience dealing with spacing behind Tim Duncan [with the San Antonio Spurs]," said Brown, a former longtime Spurs assistant. "I have to do a good job with these guys."