Richaun Holmes

Markelle Fultz, Dario Saric available tonight vs. Celtics; 2 starters out

Markelle Fultz, Dario Saric available tonight vs. Celtics; 2 starters out

BOSTON — JJ Redick and Robert Covington (rest) won't play for the Sixers tonight in preseason game No. 3 in Boston, but Brett Brown will get two key players back. 

Markelle Fultz is available for the Sixers tonight after missing Friday's home game against the Celtics with a shoulder injury. Dario Saric is also available after missing each of the first two preseason games to rest. 

The Sixers' starting lineup tonight will be Ben Simmons, Jerryd Bayless, Nik Stauskas, Saric and Jahlil Okafor. Fultz will come off the bench. Brown is using this preseason game as another opportunity to experiment with lineups. He will distribute minutes to get an extended look at different players. 

Brown's plan is to play Saric limited minutes tonight and then ramp him up in the Sixers' final two preseason games (Wednesday at Brooklyn, Friday vs. Miami).

"I'm feeling free," Saric said of being cleared to play. "Now I'm fresh." 

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (right knee) and James Michael McAdoo (left hamstring) will also be available tonight. 

Joel Embiid remains out but is back in Philadelphia training and will rejoin the Sixers on Monday night.

The Sixers will be without center Richaun Holmes for at least three weeks as he recovers from a broken left wrist suffered in Friday's loss to Boston.

The regular season begins for the Sixers on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at Washington.

George Dempsey dies
The Sixers on Sunday announced the passing of George Dempsey, who played for the Philadelphia Warriors and Syracuse Nationals from 1954-59. 

A native of South Jersey who was born in Philadelphia, Dempsey was part of the Warriors' NBA title team in 1956. 

Dempsey was 88 years old.

Sixers' Richaun Holmes out at least 3 weeks with fractured wrist

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Sixers' Richaun Holmes out at least 3 weeks with fractured wrist

Updated: 1:45 p.m.

CAMDEN, N.J. — The injury bug already has hit the Sixers.

Richaun Holmes suffered a non-displaced fracture in the radial bone of his left wrist, the team announced Sunday. The injury took place while Holmes was playing in the third quarter of Friday’s preseason loss to the Celtics. The Sixers will reevaluate Holmes in about three weeks.

“[I feel] disappointment for him,” Brett Brown said after practice Sunday. “He grabbed a chunk of those minutes where he was performing well enough to earn that.”

Holmes entered training camp ready to fight for minutes at the competitive five spot. He made a strong case for the backup role last season and earned the start in the first preseason game. Holmes posted nine points, three rebounds and three blocks in 17 minutes in that game against the Grizzlies.

“Just having that much talent, having that much depth, you have to earn everything you get,” Holmes said before Wednesday’s game. “It’s kind of how I like it.”

This injury could impact how the Sixers address the center position, particularly Jahlil Okafor’s future with the team. With Holmes sidelined and Joel Embiid not yet cleared to play, the Sixers will need healthy centers. That leaves Okafor, Amir Johnson and Emeka Okafor on the roster with three preseason games remaining. The Sixers have been open about the possibility of trading Jahlil Okafor, but he has been solid off the bench in his first two games of the preseason (11.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.0 blocks, 18.0 minutes).

Brown’s game plan at center depends on the availability of Embiid, who participated again in a complete practice Sunday.

“I’m not in game shape yet but it’s going to come together as long as I keep working,” Embiid said after practice.

Brown said he may consider moving Dario Saric to center. Saric sat out the first two preseason games for rest after a long summer of international basketball. He is probable for Monday’s game against the Celtics.

Sixers' big men work to expand shooting range to 3-point line

Sixers' big men work to expand shooting range to 3-point line

CAMDEN, N.J. — A group of Sixers gathered at the three-point line and moved around the arc for a spirited shooting drill. They trash-talked and bantered as each pulled up from long range, a sight one would expect from the overflow of guards or perimeter players. 

Only this enthusiasm was coming from four centers — Joel Embiid, Richaun Holmes, Amir Johnson and Jahlil Okafor. The Sixers have tasked their bigs with incorporating three-point shooting into their practice routines. 

“For the most part, all of our guys, it’s not out of their wheelhouse to shoot threes,” Brett Brown said Wednesday. “Apart from the fun, competitive side of it, it’s the way our sport is trending.” 

The Sixers shot 34.0 percent from three last season, tying the Bulls for 25th in the league. They added shooters to their backcourt, most notably three-point wiz JJ Redick. Between the NBA’s position-less basketball and the Sixers’ unconventional lineup with a 6-foot-10 point guard in Ben Simmons, however, it is not unlikely to see centers stretching the floor and taking outside shots. 

“We still recognize that we like getting the bigs the ball close to the rim,” Brown said. “But when it does happen, we don’t discourage it if they’re wide open.”

Of the group, Johnson has the most three-point experience. The 13th-year veteran expanded his game in 2013 and shot 40.9 percent with the Celtics last season. 

Embiid was not shy to shoot treys as a rookie. He showed off his dream of being a guard by attempting 98 threes in 31 games (36.7 percent). Holmes also worked on drills after practice last season and shot 35.1 percent (27 of 77).

“We saw what Joel Embiid did last year,” Brown said. “We’ve seen the growth that Richaun Holmes has made. Amir Johnson has effectively reinvented himself because he now has that truly, especially in the corners, in his arsenal.”

As for Okafor, who also knocked down shots, don’t expect that to become his new go-to move. He has made one three over his two-year career and didn’t attempt any last season.

“That’s probably having more fun than it will become a part of his game,” Brown said. “But who am I to say it’ll never be a part of your game? At this stage, it’s not something that we would run a play for.” 

Injury updates
Okafor participated in 5-on-5 for limited parts of the scrimmage in Wednesday’s practice. He missed the final 11 games of last season because of right knee soreness. Okafor had been restricted to 3-on-3 for the start of camp. 

Embiid worked on shooting drills, cardio and resistance training in his rehab from left knee surgery. 

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (knee tendinitis) went through parts of practice and did not participate in 5-on-5.