The Philadelphia 76ers had a breakout season last year. The team finished eighth in the conference and upset the number one seeded Chicago Bulls who where without Derrick Rose. The Sixers took the Boston Celtics to a seventh game before losing out. Veteran coach Doug Collins took the team to a place not even the franchise’s brass thought they could get too. Expectations were high coming into this season.
Sadly, the Sixers haven’t lived up to their preseason billing. They sit in ninth place in the Eastern conference and with all the injuries piling up the playoffs look out of reach.
Before the season began, they traded away Andre Iguodala. They amnestied Elton Brand and they Louis Williams escape to the Atlanta Hawks. Still, the city and its fans were optimistic. Then the injury bug came and fan apathy has returned.
The Andrew Bynum case started it all. He hasn’t pulled on a Sixers uniform over his head once this year. Right before training camp began, it was announced that he had bone bruises in both his knees. Surgeries and many injections later, and there is still no real date for his return. You would have thought the franchise brass would have looked at his knees before they traded for him.
Last week, forward Thaddeus Young, the Sixers second best player this season behind Jrue Holiday, suffered a hamstring strain and is out a minimum of three weeks. He has matured into a leader, and his loss is huge.
Then reports today surfaced that Jason Richardson will miss the rest of the season with knee surgery. Richardson was truly the only veteran on the team, and was also a piece which could have been traded at the deadline to acquire youth or draft picks.
Now his season is over and so may his career.
Coach Collins must be shaking his head. He finally had a team that could contend, and the future was bright. But some horrible player personnel moves and the injury bug have dampened his and the fans excitement. What makes one team more susceptible to injuries than others? If I knew this, I would be rich.
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