Even as Tyrese Maxey was having the best professional night of his life, it was hard for anyone in the Sixers organization to think of anything but Kelly Oubre Jr.
Oubre on Saturday was struck by a car as a pedestrian in Center City. He received treatment at Jefferson Hospital and was sent home the same night.
“When I got the news, honestly … I didn’t think it was real,” Maxey said after his 50-point game Sunday. “I shot him a text as soon as possible, as soon as I could. It hurts, man.”
That sentiment was shared by the team, as head coach Nick Nurse and Joel Embiid both remarked how scary the news was — but both were glad to hear that Oubre wasn’t injured worse than he was.
Nurse’s entire pregame availability Sunday night was spent giving updates on Oubre’s condition. He only fielded one question about the Pacers.
“I know that a lot of the guys reached out immediately and all those kinds of things,” Nurse said. “I talked to Kelly earlier this afternoon and he said the amount of love he got from the team was awesome. Yeah, he’s been fun to be around, that’s for sure.”
Oubre has hardly been a Sixer for two months, but that’s been enough time to leave this type of impact on his teammates.
“The game today, I’m sure Tyrese was thinking about him and we were all thinking about him,” Embiid said. “We just want him to take his time and recover, and we’ve got his back.”
Maxey said as much in his postgame interview on NBC Sports Philadelphia, saying that his 50 burger had nothing to do with him and was all Kelly Oubre:
Tyrese Maxey immediately following his career night:— Josh Reynolds (@JoshReynolds24) November 13, 2023
"Man, this had nothing to do with me. This is all Kelly Oubre, man. We praying for him... Love my dawg. I just met him & I love him. I hope he gets well soon."pic.twitter.com/0ZJgJCXnfg
The team made sure to send a video of the locker room reacting to Maxey getting the game ball postgame (they tried to FaceTime Oubre for this moment, but he missed the call).
Nurse had a chance pregame to reflect on the perspective this has given him, both on-court and off-court.
“That’s kind of a bummer to me, for it to happen to him,” Nurse said, “a guy that’s kind of needed a break, and he was getting one and doing everything he could to give himself a break.”
Nurse added that he expects Oubre to be back with the team Tuesday to observe practice. The Sixers put out a statement saying that Oubre suffered a fractured rib and will be reevaluated in one week.