Brett Brown on Sixers’ injuries: ‘You just get numb to it’
Brown: "Right now, we do not have a rhythm for a bunch of reasons with injury and trying to grow Markelle [Fultz]."
INDIANAPOLIS – Brett Brown tried, but under the circumstances, he wasn't very persuasive.
The 76ers coach tried Wednesday to put on a positive face after the team announced that Mike Muscala would be sidelined at least four games with a broken nose and facial laceration. Concussion tests were negative.
Having injured players has been the norm since Brown took over the team at the start of the 2013-14 season. So much so that you might be hard pressed to find four players from last season's squad who weren't hurt.
"I am numb to about everything," Brown said after Wednesday morning's shootaround for that night's game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
"We all in Philadelphia have gone through a lot," added Brown, whose squad tanked for three-plus seasons. "So you just get numb to it.
"You just try to find the positive areas that you really can control."
He can't control Muscala's timeline to return. The backup post player will be re-evaluated in a week after suffering the injuries while colliding with T.J. McConnell during Tuesday's practice. Muscala received six stitches to close the laceration, and he will wear a protective mask after he is cleared to play.
This marks the second time this season that Muscala has been sidelined with an injury. He sat the first three games with a sprained left ankle.
Meanwhile, Robert Covington will be a game-time decision Wednesday because of lower-back soreness. Wilson Chandler will make his second appearance after being sidelined with a strained left hamstring.
Jerryd Bayless (left knee sprain) and Zhaire Smith (Jones fracture, left foot) have yet to play. Ben Simmons (lower-back soreness) even missed one game.
"All coaches and players seek a rhythm to their day, to their playing, to their team," Brown said. "You find that rhythm in the NBA current, and it just takes you along. And when you don't have that rhythm, the current is rough.
"Right now, we do not have a rhythm for a bunch of reasons with injury and trying to grow Markelle [Fultz]."
Fultz is struggling to regain the shooting form that made him the first overall pick of the 2017 draft. Despite that, the Sixers start him alongside Ben Simmons in the backcourt. The team's spacing suffers as opponents sag off the two non-shooters.
"Once you find that rhythm, then you can drape the rhythm over like play call and the substitution pattern and all that," Brown said.
The coached added that rhythm "is the Holy Grail, and we do not have that right now."
The mounting injuries don't help.
JJ Redick didn't appear bothered by the injuries. The 13th-year veteran has experienced being on undermanned squads before.
"I've been on teams where we dressed like seven or eight guys," he said. "I had a year in Orlando where the norovirus ripped through our team. We had like seven guys dress out one game. It's part of the NBA."