ATLANTA – Nerlens Noel wants to return to action Friday night against the New York Knicks at the Wells Fargo Center.
The 76ers power forward missed his second consecutive game Wednesday at the Atlanta Hawks with a left eye corneal abrasion. He's listed day-to-day.
"I think I should be good by Friday with the day-to-day progress I have been making," Noels said at Wednesday's shootaround.
The 6-foot-11, 223-pounder wore protective goggles at the morning shootaround at Philips Arena. He expects to wear them for two to three games after he returns to action.
Noel suffered the injury late in the third quarter of Sunday's loss to the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre. It occurred when he was elbowed in the eye by Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry. Noel was then taken to an area hospital.
"I fell all right," he said. "It's just a little blurred vision that has been getting better."
Coach Brett Brown announced Wednesday that Kendall Marshall will be the Sixers starting point guard for the foreseeable future.
"It's going to be his job to lose," the coach said.
Marshall averaged 3.5 points and 5.5 rebounds while being limited to 16 minutes in his two games back after having surgery in February to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament tear in his right knee as a Milwaukee Buck. He signed with the Sixers in the offseason.
A pass-first point guard, Marshall got the nickname "Butter" as a 10-year-old in a Northern Virginia Boys & Girls Club.
"They used to do these little weekly write-ups about the games throughout the week and the sports coordinator who ran the league said, 'He spreads the ball around like it's butter,' " Marshall said. "Since then, my family and friends called me that."
Wanting his son to shoot the ball more, Marshall's father used to offer him $20 if he took at least 10 shots a day. He never received the money.
"It's been a lifelong battle," Marshall said. "He's still trying to get me to shoot more.
Marshall and Jahlil Okafor played as rivals in college. Okafor spent one season at Duke before the Sixers selected him third overall in June's NBA draft. Marshall, meanwhile, spent two seasons at North Carolina before being selected 13th overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 2012 draft.
Okafor, who turned 20 on Tuesday, received a beanie hat for a birthday present from Marshall, but just not any beanie.
"It was a nice little Tar Heel beanie," Marshall said. "It might be too small for his head. But I have to take care of my guy."