After the Sixers 88-70 win over the New Orleans Hornets Sunday at the Wells Fargo Center, small forward Andre Iguodala mentioned the status of his healing Achilles tendon, which is still not back to 100%.
Despite what Iguodala termed "a minor setback" earlier in the week, Iguodala went on to score 16 points on only 7 shots, grab 10 rebounds (9 defensive) and dish out 5 assists in the convincing win.
Iguodala admitted that the Achilles injury, which has caused him to miss 5 games already this season, is still bothering him.
"The thing is, I'm still not there yet [health wise]," Iguodala said. "I'm still struggling with [the achilles] a little bit. I just learned to adjust to it, and [I'm] trying to be effective out there on the court."
Iguodala had obvious frustration in his voice after the Hornets win, but he was trying to make the most of it.
"It's just something that won't go away. Just trying to play through it. It was back to square one today."
When asked whether he thought the injury would be one that would linger all year, Iguodala sounded hopeful that wouldn't be the case.
"Hopefully not. The trainers are doing everything they can."
Despite that, Doug Collins believes Iguodala is really beginning to find his stride.
"I think Dre is just starting to really hit his stride. He had the summer that he played [in the Olympics], then he did not play much in training camp as we tried to keep his minutes down. Then he got the achilles injury," Collins said. "I really feel like he's incredibly engaged with us right now. I think he feels good about what we're trying to get accomplished and where we're heading."
And why wouldn't he feel that way? Despite Iguodala playing through the nagging Achilles injury, he's playing a great all-around floor game. The 7th year wing man has averaged 15.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 6.4 assists over his last 10 games while shooting just under 44% from the floor and 39.3% from three. He's affected games with his scoring (after his latest stint of missed games he scored 60 points in his first three games back), his floor game (the 11 assist, 1 turnover game against Boston), and defense. The numerous ways Iguodala can positively affect a game has been his trademark since entering the league. The Sixers have gone 5-5 over that stretch after having won only three of their first 13 games.
Since Jodie Meeks has been inserted into the starting lineup, Andre Iguodala's been looking for his own offense less and less. Iguodala has attempted only 11 field goal attempts per game over the last 5 games, despite playing over 37 minutes per game. He has, however, played a magnificent floor game, looking to setup his teammates more and more. He has averaged 7.6 assists to only 1 turnover since the starting lineup change.
The role of being a facilitator in half-court sets may be how Iguodala's best used in general, but certainly is his best role as he's been slowed down due to the Achilles tendon.
"We had a good team effort [against the Hornets] so you really didn't see [the injury] out there. I made some open shots and didn't have to do a whole lot but make the simple plays," Iguodala said.
One thing the injury hasn't slowed down has been Iguodala's transition game.
"He got 9 defensive rebounds [against the Hornets]," Collins said. "When a guy like that can rebound the ball, you're automatically in your fast break."
Despite Iguodala not being 100%, he has found ways to be the Sixers best player. With the floor spacing and distributed scoring Jodie Meeks has helped provide, Iguodala's versatility has been shining.
An Ace of Spades, if you will.