Injuries limit Harkless, Vucevic for the 76ers

Posted: July 11, 2012

ORLANDO - Even by summer league standards, the 76ers are dealing with a makeshift lineup.

Rookie small forward Maurice Harkless, the 15th overall pick in June's NBA draft, missed the second half of their 84-80 loss to the Utah Jazz at the Amway Center on Tuesday afternoon with a left hip flexor strain.

The Sixers are now 0-2 in the Orlando Pro Summer League and are dealing with more than just the loss of Harkless.

Power forward Arnett Moultrie, who was drafted by the Miami Heat with the 27th overall pick and then traded to the Sixers, was left off the summer league roster with a sprained left ankle. Second-year center Nik Vucevic was held out for the second consecutive game with a sore Achilles tendon, and forward Lavoy Allen isn't expected to play until later in the week, after he signs a new contract Wednesday.

The notable absences have depleted the Sixers' summer league squad of its most promising prospects, meaning assistant coach and summer league head coach Aaron McKie is primarily playing undrafted rookies and free agents.

"Those guys are going to be with us, so we're going to have plenty of opportunities to evaluate them," McKie said of the missing first-round selections. "Obviously you would want to evaluate them in this environment along with their peers, the guys they were drafted with, but that's not the case. Those guys are not 100 percent healthy and we need to make sure we can get those guys back healthy and we can truly evaluate them."

Harkless said Monday that his hip has been bothering for more than a month and caused him to get off to a slow start against the Indiana Pacers.

"I haven't had time to rest," Harkless said. "It was definitely restricting me in the beginning."

The St. John's product seemed to be feeling better on Tuesday, at least initially. Harkless scored just two points in nine minutes against the Jazz but was seemingly more aggressive and active, although he did not return for the second half.

It is not clear if Harkless' strain will cause him to miss any more summer league games.

Even if Harkless, Vucevic, and Allen are not utilized for the rest of the week, McKie said the Sixers will use it as an opportunity to evaluate other players on the summer league squad.

"We've got guys out here that we get a chance to showcase, if not for us, for other teams or for us in the future, so we have to put them out there, teach them the game of basketball, and see what happens," McKie said.

Two rookies that have taken advantage of the extra playing time are guard Jacob Pullen and forward Justin Holiday. Pullen is averaging 19 points per game and Holiday is averaging 13 points. Both went undrafted in 2011.

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