76ers eager for preseason opener

As they scrimmaged at the end of yesterday's 76ers practice, forwards Elton Brand and Jason Smith looked a little sick of each other.

Brand, guarded by Smith, fought for position on the low block. A second later, after the pair ricocheted off each other, play was stopped.

It has been only a week since the Sixers opened training camp, but that's more than enough practice time to wish for a game instead. Tonight, the Sixers have one, the first of their three-week-long preseason schedule.

They play the Toronto Raptors at the John Labatt Centre in London, Ontario. Tomorrow, they play the Raptors again, this time at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

The Sixers practiced yesterday at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine for the first time this season. They finished training camp at St. Joseph's University on Saturday night.

"We got a little physical. . . . It kind of got ugly out there, so, yeah, we're ready to play someone else," said Brand, who will see game action for the first time since having season-ending shoulder surgery in early February.

Brand said he was eager for tonight's game.

"I've felt very strong, healthy, no lingering hamstrings, tendinitis, little things that pop up in two-a-days for guys," he said. "I was prepared and made it through without any hits at all."

During yesterday's scrimmage, coach Eddie Jordan used the same first-team lineup he had used all through camp: point guard Lou Williams, shooting guard Andre Iguodala, small forward Thaddeus Young, Brand, and center Samuel Dalembert.

Jordan said that he wished there was more on-court time before the first preseason game, but also that he understood the players' desire for game situations.

"We like to have as much time teaching and showing the details as much as possible, but for the players' sake - and I've been on that other side, too - we're ready to play against other people," Jordan said.

Said Young: "I was saying that today. The other team was beating us up a little bit and I said, 'I hope y'all do this against the other team.' It's going to be great, finally going out there in game mode and game feel, simulating game stuff."

Carney, Swift out. On a fastbreak during the scrimmage, swingman Rodney Carney aggravated the left-hamstring injury he suffered Saturday. Carney immediately hopped to a corner, lay facedown on the court, and grabbed his hamstring.

A minute later, the training staff helped Carney to the training room; he walked gingerly. The Sixers are calling the injury day-to-day, but Carney will not travel to Ontario with the team, instead remaining behind for treatment.

Power forward Stromile Swift, whom the Sixers signed eight days ago, has not practiced since the first day of training camp. He suffered a strained left hamstring and will not travel with the team to Ontario, either.

Jones-Jennings gone. Yesterday morning, the Sixers waived 6-foot-8 power forward Rashad Jones-Jennings, who was signed last week. The roster now stands at 17 players, with 13 under contract. The team is allowed up to 15 contracted players.

Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at 856-779-3844 or kfagan@phillynews.com.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 6, 2009