Sixers Notes: Hawes still hopes to return soon, no promises on date

Posted: February 02, 2012

For the last two weeks, it has been the big question: When will Spencer Hawes return to the 76ers?

The answer has changed from week to week since Hawes last played against Milwaukee on Jan. 16. The Sixers, however, are now leaving the decision up to Hawes. He missed his ninth game in a row Wednesday with a strained left Achilles tendon.

"I hope so," Hawes said when asked before Wednesday's game with Chicago if he will be back by the end of the week. "I hope it will be as early as possible, but I said that last week. Right now, I'm done with predictions."

Hawes is running and working out. At practice on Tuesday he was working with rookie center Nik Vucevic and some of the team's other big men. He ran before Wednesday's game, too. But he still is not comfortable running when he has to get up on his toes.

"Right now it feels good," Hawes said. "But when I'm running and I get up on my toes I can tell it's not right because of my gait. It's not natural."

Not including Wednesday's game with the Bulls, the Sixers were 5-4 in games without Hawes this season. He missed a game against the New York Knicks on Jan. 11, also a loss, with a lower back strain.

Sixers coach Doug Collins is not going to rush back Hawes, who will be a free agent at the end of the season. Collins pointed out that his career ended prematurely and that he was careful not to rush a player back from injury before he is ready.

"I'm incredibly sensitive to that," Collins said. "I was accused of having a low threshold for pain, and I went out and played with two broken feet and it ended my career. When somebody tells you that you should be playing, well, it's not their leg. Spencer is a competitor, and he wants to go out there and play. So when he's ready to do that, he'll be out there."

Hawes said he was mindful of causing further injury to the delicate tendon by returning ahead of time.

"It's like any other injury - you worry about the potential to hurt it more," Hawes said. "But it is what it is. It's the hand that I've been dealt. You have to react the best you can and be as responsible as you can in coming back. It's just taking longer than I thought it would take."

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