CAMDEN, N.J. — They say when it rains, it pours.
For the Sixers, the current situation is a freaking tropical storm.
James Harden is still recovering from a tendon strain in his right foot and is likely still a couple weeks away from returning to the lineup. We learned over the weekend that Tyrese Maxey has a small fracture in his left foot and will miss three-to-four weeks. On Monday afternoon, we were told Joel Embiid will miss the team’s upcoming back-to-back with a left mid-foot sprain.
But that’s not all.
Tobias Harris has missed the last two games with left hip soreness, though he said Monday he’s hoping to return Tuesday against Brooklyn. Fellow starter P.J. Tucker should be available, though he started the season coming off a “knee procedure” and has been dealing with a hip ailment of his own. De’Anthony Melton, who’s had to start a bunch of games recently, has also missed time with a back injury. Matisse Thybulle, who’s been nursing a sore ankle, didn’t play in the second half against the Timberwolves Saturday after Doc Rivers said he didn’t like the way the wing was moving. Furkan Korkmaz has missed the last three games with left knee effusion.
Oh, and second-year guard Jaden Springer, who could get pressed into action soon enough, has been dealing with a right quad strain.
Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?
Now it’s up to Doc Rivers, whose team sits at 8-8, to try to salvage wins out of this mess.
“You don’t worry about it,” Rivers said after practice. “You try to get through it, you try to sneak some wins out. Any win now is a big win. And so we’ll try to get them.”
One of the very few positives that comes out of this situation is that it’s November and not March — Embiid should be back soon followed by Harden and then Maxey not long after. And it’s a long season. There are 66 games left.
The next couple games just have the potential to be very rough.
“We got a lot of games left, so we know if we can get guys back we’ll make a run,” Rivers said. “A lot of guys that don’t play or don’t play a lot of minutes will get a chance to play a lot of minutes. And there’ll be a silver lining here somewhere. ...
“So we’ll find something out of this. But like I told the guys, what I really want to find is wins. Let’s let’s find a way of winning a game.”
If you’re looking for more positives — or maybe you’re a masochist, so you don’t have to keep reading — Maxey’s spirits were great (duh).
The rising star guard greeted the media with his usual effervescence and aplomb. He said it was the first real injury he’s had since his freshman year in high school ... so long ago that he couldn’t even remember exactly what the injury was.
He mentioned he heard a pop Friday night and was still wearing a walking boot. He expects to ditch the boot in about a week and has been surrounded by family ahead of Thanksgiving.
“I’m grateful to be alive every single day,” Maxey said. “Every time I get to wake up and I can breathe and I can walk around and move around and have all my limbs and stuff. You know, I still thank God every day. So I’m happy.”
A ray of sunshine on an otherwise cloudy day.
What’s left of the Sixers will face off Tuesday against Ben Simmons and the Nets, who conversely seem to be getting healthier and playing better under new head coach Jacque Vaughn.
They Sixers need all the help they can get.
“We knew going into this year, one of the main things we always talked about, even before training camp was the depth of this team,” Harris said. “Now, that’s being presented right up in front of us. So, with guys out, we still have a lot of pieces that could help and contribute. We have a lot of guys who early on were out of the rotation and had great training camps, great preseason, are now having this opportunity to play.”
We’ll see if the Sixers can weather the storm.