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Sixers' Robert Covington still dealing with back stiffness

The Sixers' forward hurt his back Dec. 9 against the Cavs. Covington says it still bothers him in games at times.

Robert Covington of the Sixers has struggled with his shooting of late.
Robert Covington of the Sixers has struggled with his shooting of late.Read moreCHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer

Robert Covington still has lingering effects from the lower-back bruise he suffered against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Dec. 9.

The 76ers small forward was sidelined two games before returning to action on Dec. 15 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He didn't exactly light it up in his three games back before Thursday night's matchup against the Toronto Raptors at the Wells Fargo Center.

Covington combined to shoot 26.6 percent (12 of 45) overall, while making 21.8 percent (7 of 32) of this three-pointers.

"Sometimes in the morning, my back wakes up stiff," he said. "But I don't necessarily use that as an excuse. I'm back. Sometimes it [is] a hindrance."

Covington was hurt in the loss to Cleveland when he fell into the stands while trying to save the ball. His lower back and upper buttocks hit a metal object near the Cavs' bench. Covington had to be helped off the court. Results of his CT Scan and X-rays were negative.

The fifth-year veteran said he sometimes experiences back soreness in games.

"If I get hit on a screen certain ways or in a certain spot, it's still tender at times in that spot," he said. "If I get hit right there, I will still feel it. But other than that, I just play through things."

Simmons in elite company

Ben Simmons headed into the game with 60 steals for the season. The rookie point guard was one of just three NBA players with at least that number. Thunder small forward Paul George had 71 steals.  Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook had 65.

Bayless on a scoring run

Guard Jerryd Bayless went into the game with three consecutive double-figure performances.  He had 15 points on Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings, one day after finishing with 10 against the  Bulls in Chicago.  Bayless scored 14 on Friday against the Thunder.

This marks the second time the 29-year-old has scored in double figures in three consecutive games this season.  The first time came in the first three games.

Star treatment

The Sixers surprised 16 youngsters ages 9 to 14 from the Methodist Home for Children with a game-day experience at the arena. They received one-day contracts, participated in a basketball clinic and met Sixers players Markelle Fultz and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot. They also had personalized lockers with nameplates and received jerseys.

Breast-feeding station

The Sixers' arena became the first pro venue in Pennsylvania to install a Mamava nursing suite to support breast-feeding mothers. The suite is located outside Section 116 on the main concourse.