Sixers' Speights to miss 6 to 8 weeks with knee injury

Marreese Speights: MCL injury
Marreese Speights: MCL injury
Posted: November 16, 2009

The Friday night home loss to the Utah Jazz hurt the 76ers' pride as they were outmanned, outmuscled, outplayed and thoroughly thumped in a 112-90 loss.

Saturday night in Chicago, though armed with a better effort and more determined play all around, the Sixers dropped a 94-88 decision to the Bulls and dropped their record to 4-6.

That loss might have ultimately hurt more than the Utah game, though, as reserve center Marreesse Speights, the Sixers' most consistent player off the bench this season, had to leave the game with an injury to his left knee. After an MRI exam yesterday morning, team physician Dr. Jack McPhilemy revealed that Speights has a partial tear of the MCL and will be out about 6 to 8 weeks.

Speights, who is averaging 13 points and 6.4 rebounds during his 23.4 minutes of play, hurt his knee in the fourth quarter of the Bulls game in what appeared to be a routine play. Speights' left leg bent awkwardly as he turned his body to adjust to the ball on defense. He immediately went down and grasped his knee.

"I talked to him and he has a very good attitude and knows that it is a part of the game," general manager Ed Stefanski said. "He will work hard to get back. His numbers this year per minutes played are off the charts. The things we asked him to work on he got better at - rebounding and scoring inside. He's been an outstanding outside shooter and has been working on his defense. It's a setback, but we know he has big talent and upside. We are thrilled with his progression."

But now the team must move forward without the second-year player from Florida.

"We're looking at lists of potential players and options," Stefanski added. "I wouldn't see us making a quick move. We'll see how it goes. You never want to see a kid get hurt, but this presents an opportunity for someone to step up or someone to get extra time."

Speights was a big reason why Elton Brand has been watching from the bench in the fourth quarter of recent games. Now coach Eddie Jordan's constantly changing rotation will have to differ even more.

"We'll have to look at some things," Stefanski said. "Does it mean added minutes for Jason Smith? Does Thad [Young] play more big-man [minutes]? So far it's been a process for Elton, and I think he's been getting better. Maybe this is a chance for more minutes for him."

Homecoming week

The Sixers will play two games at home this week that might bring in two interesting figures from the past.

Former Sixers coach Larry Brown, now at the helm with the Charlotte Bobcats, will be in the Wachovia Center on Wednesday for a 7 o'clock game.

When Memphis visits on Friday, it is doubtful Allen Iverson will be accompanying the team as he is on a leave of absence, upset over his lack of playing time for the young Grizzlies. In three games, Iverson is averaging 12.3 points in just over 22 minutes of play. Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins, a former Sixers player, has said that he knows what his plans are for Iverson, and has conveyed them to Iverson. Still, the 10-time All-Star doesn't seem happy with his role.

Tough schedule

After two home games this week, the Sixers will play seven of their next eight on the road. The stretch will end with games at San Antonio, Dallas, Oklahoma City and Charlotte. Following that, the team will play six of seven at the Wachovia Center.

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