It was an unbearable defeat to the Brooklyn Nets on Monday, but fans want to know if the apparent savior, Michael Carter-Williams, will return for Friday’s rematch. The rookie point guard practiced on Wednesday for the first time in over two weeks.
The last time he stepped on the court was on December 3rd against the Orlando Magic where he recorded his first career triple-double (27 points, 12 rebounds, and10 assists) and aided the Sixers to a victory in overtime.
He has been sidelined for the last seven consecutive games due to a bacterial infection and soreness on the front side of his right knee. Because the team has yet to say whether or not he will return for the rematch on Friday, his on-court appearance is still uncertain.
“His wind is definitely a worry, as it should be,” Brown said after watching Carter-Williams go through a full practice running with the starters. “But just to have him with the group running around and playing basketball again is fantastic.”
Brown said Carter-Williams’ status for Friday hasn’t been determined. If the knee responds well Thursday and Friday morning, Brown will not hesitate to insert MCW back to his rightful starting point guard spot. And what a relief that will be for Sixers fans. The 76ers (7-19) have lost all seven games and are just 1-10 without MCW this season.
No doubt about it the Sixers need him back. Regardless if the Sixers make the playoffs it is crucial for him to continue to grow in the league as an NBA stud as well as build on-court chemistry with his future squad. Even if the plan is to tank, having him on the court improving his abilities and learning from losses will help him for upcoming seasons.
The 6-6 point guard, the 11th overall pick out of Syracuse in the 2013 NBA draft, was named the NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in October and November. He leads all rookies by averaging 17.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 7.3 assists, an NBA-high 3.1 steals and 36.7 minutes in 15 games. He is most certainly the future of this team. Now when Nerlens Noel returns we’ll see if they have some big-man support, but for now the Sixers need MCW to bring back that lanky-arm defense we’ve been missing.
The impact of Carter-Williams’ absence is hard to quantify, but Brett Brown knows Carter-Williams’ return gives a boost on a number of levels.
“To bring him back in from a confidence standpoint with his teammates, from a talent perspective that he definitely brings to the table. We have seen skill wise what he can do. But none of us can forget we have to keep moving forward. That was the disappointing thing the last two games defensively and some other spots we were nowhere close to building anything. I think he is going to add on both sides of the ball to continue to add to that building block process.”
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