Tuesday , Jan , 13 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

Philadelphia is still trying to get healthy

(Sports Network) – The Philadelphia 76ers rebounded from a loss at Washington
and defeated the Orlando Magic, 87-82, on Monday at the TD Waterhouse Centre.

The Sixers, who are 18-20 after 38 games played, got some good news and bad
news on Monday. The good news was that guard Aaron McKie was back on the
court. The Temple product returned to the lineup after missing seven games
with a strained left hamstring.

The bad news was that starting center Derrick Coleman sat out Monday’s contest
with a sore knee that has been bothering him all season. The 36-year-old
Coleman has missed 12 games this season with lingering knee problems.

Philadelphia received some more bad news as forward Marc Jackson, who has
been recovering from a fractured left ring finger, suffered a stress reaction
and a bone bruise in his left foot during a recent workout.

Jackson, who has played in just 19 games this season for the Sixers, is
expected to wear a compression boot on the foot for seven to 10 days.
Jackson, who turns 29 on January 16th, was expected to return to the lineup
within the next couple of weeks from the finger injury. It is not known
whether his foot injury will delay his return to the court.

Philadelphia has already endured a 10-game stretch without All-Star guard
Allen Iverson, who was out with a swollen right knee. The 76ers were 3-7
without their superstar.

With so many injuries, first year head coach Randy Ayers has had his patience
put to the test, while different players have had to step up each night.

Monday’s victory over Orlando proved to be no exception. Samuel Dalembert, who
started in place of Coleman, posted career-highs with 15 points and 11
rebounds, while starting power forward Kenny Thomas finished with 13 points
and a game-high 16 boards.

“Samuel and Kenny were phenomenal on the boards and Samuel was great in terms
of him defending the rim,” said Ayers after Monday’s victory.

Iverson, who played in his fifth game since returning from his knee injury,
played 43 minutes and finished with a game-high 32 points, while shooting just
9-of-29 from the field. He also handed out seven assists.

“My rhythm is way off,” said Iverson. “I am struggling. It is frustrating that
it is taking so long for my game to come back. But by being in the league for
eight years, I have been through this and through struggles. I know how to
play while I am struggling. Early in my career, it would have taken me out of
a game.”

“He’s (Iverson) still not right, but he got his 29 shots up tonight, so he’s
getting closer,” said Ayers. “He’s just gotta back off from about four or five
shots. He moved the ball very well, as he had close to six assists early in
the game.”

With McKie, who is averaging a solid 10.8 point per game, going scoreless in
21 minutes of action, Glenn Robinson came through with 19 points and Eric
Snow netted 13.

The 31-year-old Robinson, who was acquired by the 76ers from the Atlanta Hawks
in a four-team deal in July 2003, had missed the first three games of the
season because of a league suspension from a domestic incident and then was
sidelined for 15 games with an ankle injury. He seems to be getting his game
back to top form, as he is averaging 21.5 points in Philadelphia’s last four
games.

“This was much needed, because we dropped one to the Wizards and we really
needed this game tonight,” said Robinson. “We showed our character once
again.”

With the win, Philadelphia, which has won two of its last three on the road,
improved to 8-12 as the visitor this season.

“It wasn’t very pretty but it was a great team effort,” said Ayers. “It’s a
good road win after coming off a loss the other day. We got off to a decent
start and shared the basketball some. But we got away from doing the things
that got us the lead such as moving the ball. I think there were nine straight
possessions where we didn’t score. But we got it back and hit some big shots
down the stretch.”

The 76ers play at Dallas on Wednesday before returning home to host the
Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday and the Seattle SuperSonics on Monday.

PHI