CAMDEN, N.J. — The Sixers acquired two non-rookies this offseason, Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala.
It’s likely that neither will play in the season opener. Chandler is sidelined with a left hamstring strain, and head coach Brett Brown said Thursday that he’s still “a ways away.”
Saturday, Brown revealed that Muscala is doubtful for the Sixers’ opener against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday with a right ankle sprain.
Ben Simmons also missed Saturday’s practice, though he has no long-term health concern; Brown said he had neck tightness after sleeping in an awkward position.
If Muscala is out, Amir Johnson would likely receive all the minutes at the backup center spot. That said, Brown used Muscala a lot as a four in the preseason. He’s been impressed with Muscala’s versatility and ability to switch out onto power forwards.
Muscala averaged 4 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in 22.6 minutes per night in the preseason, shooting 28.6 percent from the floor.
According to Brown, it’s not a big man who would be most impacted by Muscala’s absence.
“When you start looking at the rotation, you can see that Muscala’s vacancy opens up minutes,” Brown said. “T.J. (McConnell) is the most likely candidate to come in there and fill some of that void. You see how I’m excited to continue to play Landry Shamet. I will continue to do that.”
“You see me start Markelle (Fultz) and then bring him off the bench in the second half as sort of a point guard only. I’ll continue to do that. At times because of the vacancy of a player, you might see Markelle go to the two more than that first chunk of time that I give him at the start of a game because of those injuries.”
Brown has said he prefers to use both Fultz and McConnell as point guards, though it sounds like Muscala’s injury could lead him to temporarily change his plans. McConnell was effective playing as a shooting guard alongside Ben Simmons in the postseason against the Celtics.