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Tyrese Maxey out, James Harden and P.J. Tucker questionable tonight in Oklahoma City

Load Management SZN

Detroit Pistons v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Playing the second night of a back-to-back tonight in Oklahoma City, the Philadelphia 76ers will likely be without a handful of starters. On the afternoon’s injury report, Tyrese Maxey was listed as out, and James Harden and P.J. Tucker as questionable with injury management.

Maxey played 19 minutes last night, coming off the bench for his first game back since fracturing his foot on November 18. Bringing him back gradually and not putting additional stress on that foot by virtue of playing both ends of the back-to-back is absolutely the prudent move.

Harden missed a month earlier this season due to a tendon strain in his right foot, and has a recent history of lower body injuries. Yet, the 33-year-old is leading the league at 38.1 minutes per game, and that figure has been even higher at 39.1 minutes per game since returning from his most recent absence. My Talking About Podcast co-host David Early has been shouting from the rooftops for the team to institute some sort of load management program with Harden to keep him fresh for the postseason. Giving him half of a back-to-back off now and again would be a great place to start.

Finally, Tucker is dealing with a pinched nerve that has caused a ‘dead hand’ sensation in his right shooting hand. The recommended treatment is rest for the affected area and to stop activities causing the issue. Naturally then, P.J. has started every game this season for the Sixers. I would think a few weeks off until the issue completely goes away would be a better idea than a one-off load management day here and there, but I guess it’s a start.

The Thunder are 15-20 on the season, including 10-8 at home. If the Sixers do indeed take the court without three of their opening night starters, hopefully Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, and the rest of the gang have enough left in the tank after last night’s game to halt their two-game losing skid. We’ll find out at 8:00pm ET.

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