Nurse gives update on Oubre, says he has ‘I'll be back before you know it' attitude

Nurse gives update on Oubre, says he has ‘I'll be back before you know it' attitude originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

For the time being, Kelly Oubre Jr.'s return-to-play timeline is not the Sixers’ primary concern.

Sixers head coach Nick Nurse conveyed that sensible message about the 27-year-old early Sunday evening ahead of his team’s matchup with the Pacers. Nurse said he spoke that afternoon to Oubre, who suffered a fractured rib Saturday night when he was hit by a car while walking in Philadelphia.

“He’s back home,” Nurse said. “I think he’s doing OK. Pretty traumatic incident and all those things, but he is home resting fairly comfortably. … I think he’s going to be back to join the team — observing practice, et cetera — by about Tuesday.

“I think we’re going to have about a week go by before we re-evaluate where he’s at, and then we’ll probably know a little better where he is and what the timeline looks like. That’s where we are right now.”

Nurse said he was “just hanging out” Saturday night when he saw several missed calls on his phone from Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and vice president of athlete care Simon Rice. He called the situation “shocking.”

“You get the news of what happened,” Nurse said, “and you’re at a stage of, ‘Well, where is he?’ He’s at the hospital. You’re trying to get the information about how bad is it and how much has happened, all that kind of stuff. … And at the end, you’re saying it surely could’ve been much worse, right?

“I think that was kind of the rhythm of last night. And then you get to today, and he’s at least home. Again, it’s not as bad as maybe feared at the beginning, so you’re thankful for that.”

The Sixers will move forward for now without Oubre, who’d helped the team win seven of its first eight games with timely scoring spurts, defensive aggression and strong rebounding for his position.

Nicolas Batum started Sunday in Oubre's place. Robert Covington played 16 minutes off the bench and both Furkan Korkmaz and Danuel House Jr. entered the Sixers' rotation.

Last week, Oubre said his transition to the Sixers “couldn’t have been more seamless” after he signed a one-year, minimum-salary contract in late September. His game and personality have both meshed well.

“He comes in, practices hard, plays hard, is a likable personality,” Nurse said. “I know that a lot of the guys reached out immediately and all those kinds of things. I talked to Kelly ... and he said the amount of love he got from the team was awesome. Yeah, he’s been fun to be around, that’s for sure.”

Nurse also liked what he gathered about Oubre's mindset in that conversation.

“He sounds pretty good mentally, considering (the situation), to me,” Nurse said. “He kind of has an ‘I’ll be back before you know it’ type of attitude, so I think that’s a great place to start from him.”

The game itself wound up being a thrilling one Sunday night — a career-high 50 points for Tyrese Maxey and an eighth consecutive Sixers win.

They were thinking of Oubre postgame.

“We tried to call him and FaceTime him so we could get him in on the postgame, but we weren’t able to reach him," Nurse said. “So we just shot a video of giving Tyrese the game ball for the 50-pointer. Just wishing him well.”

“It’s hard, man,” Maxey said. “It’s really hard, obviously. When I got the news, honestly … I didn’t think it was real. I shot him a text as soon as possible, as soon as I could. It hurts, man. That’s sad. It’s a sad deal, but we’re really happy it’s minor injuries because of what could’ve happened.

“Man, we just want to show our love to him, tell him we love him. Shout out to K.O. He’s a fighter, so we know he’ll be OK and we can’t wait to see him.”