January 17 Philadelphia Daily News:
“Rarely have the 76ers played with a full, healthy roster.
Yesterday, after practice at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, coach Doug Collins revealed that forward Andres Nocioni will miss some time due to a finger fracture he suffered on Jan. 7 against Chicago.
“I think we’re going to shut ‘Noc’ down a little bit,” said Collins, who had given his team the day off on Saturday. “I think he’d like to shut it down for a little bit and get that [right, shooting] hand under control. There was a play in front of our bench the other day that Noc normally would have eaten alive and I could see him not wanting to put the hand into the pile, and I can understand that. It was amazing that he played with that as he did.”
The night after being injured, Nocioni played 39 minutes in Detroit, but saw limited play in the next two games. With Nocioni sidelined, Collins sees more minutes for, among others, rookie Evan Turner.
Turner played just 10 minutes in Friday’s one-point win over Milwaukee, after scoring 33 points in a total of 55 minutes in the previous two games.
“Evan is a great kid. The one thing is, he didn’t play well the other night and we were trying to win that game,” said Collins, referring to Friday. “I told him after the game that his minutes were down to 10 and the reason they were up the other game was because you were playing really good. We had to win that game [Friday]. I just thought he made some careless errors offensively. One time he shoved a guy into a shooter. We had to win that game. There’s nights that sometimes a guy’s minutes might be down but never because I don’t trust him in the long haul. It was just that particular night, we had to win that game.”
After yesterday’s practice, before Collins met with the media, Turner pulled the coach aside and the two met privately for a couple of minutes before parting in laughter. It was a pretty compelling sight to see the 22-year-old rookie and the middle-aged coach sharing such a moment. But it is the norm between Collins and his players, especially the painfully young like Turner.
“I think a lot of it is because they are good people,” Collins said of his young players’ maturity. “I think they’re all high-character guys and I think that always comes first. When you’re a high-character guy, I think you’ll accept teaching at the highest of levels. I think when you’re a high-character guy and you feel good about yourself, when you’re being taught they understand it’s about getting better.”
TALKIN BOUT PRACTICE: Sixers blog
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