CAMDEN, N.J. -- The Sixers will head to the West Coast on an overloaded schedule with an undermanned lineup. The team will play four games in six days, including back-to-backs in Los Angeles and a matchup against the Warriors in Oakland.
The trip, though, is just the start of a jam-packed schedule in which the Sixers are going up against playoff- and championship-caliber teams.
"I look at it very clearly in my eyes," Brett Brown said before practice on Monday. "The first thing that I'll tell everybody is bunker down -- fans, media, players. We've done this for four years. We completely understand what's around the corner.
"You've got 11 games out of 13 (actually 11 of 14) that are on the road. Eight of those 13 are playoff teams. Two of those are last year's finalists that played in the championship. We have a team that isn't like the team we had in January. We've navigated post-All-Star breaks with trades and injuries many times. We are experienced dealing with this environment."
It still remains to be seen who be will available for the upcoming trip. Jahlil Okafor (right knee soreness) is listed as questionable for Thursday against the Trail Blazers. He did not practice on Tuesday and received treatment. Brown expects to have Okafor back at some point out West after missing the last two games.
"My gut feel is that we will see him be on a court on this road trip," Brown said.
Starting-center-of-the-moment Richaun Holmes (hamstring) and Gerald Henderson (hip) are listed as probable for Thursday. Joel Embiid (out for the season, knee) is slated to join the team in Los Angeles.
And so the Sixers will hit the road with a pared-down roster of reserves-turned-starters and recently acquired D-League call-ups.
"This is challenging," Brown said. "You could use other words, but let's stick with that one. This is challenging. It's my job as the head coach to take these guys and to help them get better, to keep a locker room together, to play with a style that doesn't deviate with how we want to grow the program."
Brown sees the obstacles of this season as different than those of years past. He points to the impending returns of Embiid and Ben Simmons, the development of those like Robert Covington and Dario Saric, as well as the upcoming draft and salary cap space for free agency.
He is eyeing the growth of each player for the remainder of the season. Brown has asked each player to identify areas they want to improve upon before the 82nd game concludes.
"We will compete," Brown said. "We will stay together. I'm not going to lose my mind. I will keep this thing whole. I will keep it together. It'll retain a realness to it, but it's that. With that, becomes a real sort of clear reality of where we are, with the schedule, with the team, with what's around the corner with drafts and summer, with the maintenance of our injured players. All those things are on my mind as we go through what's about to happen until April the 12th."
At the start of Tuesday's practice, Simmons went through non-contact drills as he has done before this season. Watch him here:
Jerryd Bayless is in New York City on Tuesday to have the cast on his left wrist removed. He suffered a ligament injury during training camp and underwent season-ending surgery in December.