With media day kicking off today as the unofficial start to the 2022-23 NBA season, we were greeted with news from Philadelphia 76ers public relations that while not exactly concerning, makes you pause:
“P.J. Tucker had an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee. He’s been cleared for on-court work and will participate in training camp in Charleston, South Carolina.”
The good news is that Tucker will not miss any time in camp. At this morning’s press conference, both Daryl Morey and Doc Rivers said they are not concerned and Tucker is already back on the court. Daryl mentioned a “late summer” timeline for the procedure.
Still, this news brings up a concern many folks had when the P.J. Tucker signing was announced at the start of free agency. There’s no doubt that Tucker brings much-needed toughness and defensive versatility, while also filling a helpful low-usage offensive role spotting up with proficiency from the corners. But the team gave a three-year deal to a 37-year-old, including a player option in the final season. There are a lot of fairly obvious ways it could go wrong.
Nevertheless, the Sixers have to operate with a win-now mentality with Joel Embiid and James Harden in their prime and tail of post-prime, respectively. Tucker undoubtedly makes Philadelphia a better team the present, plus he was a guy your team’s superstar directly called for you to sign. It would likely have been a misstep not to heed Joel’s wishes. Let’s just hope this summer’s procedure is simply a bit of routine maintenance, and not a more ominous harbinger of things to come.