Kelly Oubre Jr. was a full participant in the Sixers’ practice on Monday, under one month since fracturing his ribs due to being struck by a vehicle. Both Oubre himself, along with head coach Nick Nurse, were made available for the media post-practice, offering their perspective ahead of Oubre’s return (quotes from Nurse courtesy of Justin Grasso of All76ers).
“Kelly was in… Kelly was in. He’ll be cleared and ready to play [for Wednesday’s game],” said Nick Nurse.
“We’ll probably fire him right back in there,” Nurse finished. “Let me see what it looks like getting him into Wednesday. I think that it could matter if there are other guys in or out. I would imagine if everybody’s healthy, he’s coming off the bench, and he’s coming probably pretty early. We’re gonna try and fire him right back in there.”
Veteran Nico Batum has filled in as the 76ers’ fifth starter since Oubre’s injury, being the glue guy between Tyrese Maxey and Joel Embiid. Thus far, results with Batum in the starting five have yielded strong results, with Batum being a plus-73 on the season. Oubre can provide the most value to this team as a bench scorer when Maxey or Tobias Harris sit, which the Sixers have lacked for most of the year.
Oubre Jr. spoke publicly on the accident for the first time, providing perspective into what he physically and mentally went through in the coming days/weeks after (quotes courtesy of Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer).
Here’s Oubre Jr. on what happened on the night he told police he was a hit-and-run victim while trying to cross a Center City street:
“First and foremost before anything, I want to say thank you to my family, my friends, the 76ers organization, especially coach Nurse for the utmost support throughout this whole process. But I’ve spoken to the police about this situation and they have an ongoing investigation. So I’ve spoken to who I need to speak to about it and I’ll keep it with that the way that is. I won’t be speaking on any details about that because they are looking into.”
Oubre Jr. went on to address the online speculation that there was something being hidden, as details didn’t initially match up with what he originally told police.
“This was and is a very traumatic situation for me and my family. I just wish that my life wasn’t the Truman Show, where everybody can kind of watch it and have their own opinion about my life. This is very hard for us to have to deal with and for me to miss being on the court, which keeps me sane. A lot of people are very inconsiderate and insensitive to try to worry about video cameras and [stuff] about something that happened with my life, and it’s very detrimental to me and missing time with my job. So yeah, I’m just really blessed that it wasn’t worse than it is and that I’m able to come back to work and smile and walk and talk and breathe. That’s what I have to say about the conspiracy theorists and I love them, too. Like, I sit there on my down time and look at them. Not with my life, though.
In what is an otherwise dark and dire situation, it’s nice to see the 76ers as a whole rally around Oubre Jr., who is still one of the newer members of the team. His personality and on-court production should provide a needed boost for the team, as the schedule lightens up considerably.