The 76ers hope Iverson and interim head coach Chris Ford can put their differences behind them in time for their matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Iverson has bumped heads several times with Ford since he took over as head coach after Randy Ayers was fired on Feb. 9.
Iverson said he was ready to play in Sunday’s 85-69 loss to Detroit, but changed his mind after Ford told him he’d come off the bench.
“I’m a starter. I’ve been a starter here for eight years. I’m not a sixth man,” Iverson said after the game. “I’m a starter. I know in this league … if someone comes back from an injury, if he’s a starter he starts. What’s the difference? If you’re going to cut my time down, cut my time down. It doesn’t make any difference. I’m a starter.”
Iverson has been hampered by a swollen right knee, which caused him to miss three straight games before Sunday. The league’s second-leading scorer participated in the shootaround before the game but was on the Sixers’ bench in street clothes at tip-off.
“I feel real disappointed because I told the trainers I was going to play,” Iverson said. “He (Ford) said I hadn’t run up and down the court, and he wasn’t sure about my conditioning.”
The Sixers need Iverson back in the lineup to get back into the playoff picture. Philadelphia trails New York and Miami by two games for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Even with Iverson in the lineup, the Sixers will be hard-pressed to beat the Grizzlies.
Memphis has won 12 of 15 and had won seven straight before suffering an 88-80 loss to Houston on Friday.
Memphis trails Dallas by one game for fifth place in the Western Conference. The Grizzlies are 15-8 against Eastern Conference opponents.
STANDINGS (through March 14): 76ers - 5th place, 13 GB, Atlantic Division. Grizzlies - 4th place, 4 1/2 GB, Midwest Division.
TEAM LEADERS: 76ers - Iverson, 27.0 ppg; Thomas, 10.3 rpg; Snow, 7.0 apg. Grizzlies - Gasol, 17.7 ppg and 7.9 rpg; Williams, 6.8 apg.
SEASON SERIES: Grizzlies, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 17; Grizzlies, 91-87. At Philadelphia, Gasol had 16 points and Lorenzen Wright and Posey each chipped in with 14 to lead the Grizzlies. Iverson had 34 points and Glenn Robinson added 20 for Sixers.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: 76ers - 11-23 on the road; Grizzlies - 25-8 at home.
INJURIES: 76ers - G Iverson (knee); F-C Derrick Coleman (finger); F-C Marc Jackson (finger); C Todd MacCulloch (illness); F Robinson (elbow). Grizzlies - G Dahntay Jones (triceps); G-F Mike Miller (back); C Wright (knee).