This weekend was a rather interesting one in Philadelphia sports, and not necessarily in a good way. The Eagles escaped with a win in Indianapolis by the thinnest of margins in an ugly game, and it was uglier at the Wells Fargo Center. Not the results, really, but the lineups. The Sixers had an awesome win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night, and they battled with a solid Minnesota Timberwolves team on Saturday, but they took a huge loss on the injury front as Tyrese Maxey fractured his foot in the win against Milwaukee. The starting lineup Saturday night following Maxey’s injury? Shake Milton, DeAnthony Melton, PJ Tucker, Danuel House, Joel Embiid. Yuck. Outside of Embiid, those guys are nice role players, but you won’t get very far with that being your starting lineup. With James Harden already nursing a lower body injury, and now Maxey out for a month or so, it’s time to treat the Sixers like Santa Claus.
That’s right, we’ll see the Sixers on Christmas. It’s not ideal, but that’s probably close to the next time we will see this team at full strength. The good news is that the season doesn’t really kick into high gear until that point, but it’s still putting the Sixers behind the 8 ball early. They were already having a rough start to the season, but now without their starting backcourt duo, the road has gotten significantly tougher for the Sixers to compete between now and the end of December. The saving grace is that Joel Embiid is once again playing like an MVP candidate, and doing everything that he can to will the Sixers to victory regardless of the injury situation. That being said though, we know Joel Embiid’s limitations, and his health history. I wouldn’t say we should be worried about him getting hurt, but he certainly isn’t going to play every single game between now and Christmas when you factor in the rest that he needs. It’s realistic to expect the Sixers to have a bit of a slide over the next couple weeks.
It’s important, then, that we as fans temper our expectations until this team gets back to full health. I know it’s not ideal, but that’s the cards that we have been dealt with the Sixers right now. They won’t be dead in the water by Christmas; mathematically they will absolutely have time to make up plenty of ground on the top teams in the East. And, as we know from the past couple of seasons, the playoffs are all that really matter to this team. So settle in for the start of a cold winter, and focus on the Eagles’ great regular season, some Thanksgiving turkey, or a nice glass of whiskey. We’ll see the real Sixers again right around Christmas time. Hopefully then they’ll turn into the team that they were built to be.