The Sixers needed more fight, an extra punch, in their lackluster loss to the Suns. All of that was sitting on the bench, and they may get it back for their next game.
T.J. McConnell is hopeful he will be cleared to play Thursday against the Lakers. He has been sidelined for three games since suffering an AC joint sprain in his left shoulder last Wednesday against the Wizards.
McConnell took shots for the first time on Monday. He said his range of motion is improving but it wasn't "quite where I wanted it to be." In order to play Thursday, he has to feel healthy enough to contribute.
"I would really like to play Thursday," McConnell said prior to the Suns' game. "But if it's going to limit what I do, I'm not going to limit myself as a player. But I'm going to do everything I can to be ready for Thursday."
The Sixers are missing more than McConnell's 7.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. They are missing his unrelenting hustle and tenacity off the bench. The Sixers' reserves of Amir Johnson, Jerryd Bayless, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Nik Stauskas combined for 14 points, 11 rebounds and four assists, as well as 10 of the team's 22 fouls and five of its 14 turnovers.
The Sixers did not practice Tuesday. They will evaluate McConnell's progress with two days in between games, which has Brett Brown feeling optimistic.
"We don't want injured players chasing," Brown said Monday. "We want to get it right, as best you can, and there's one more game we have to allow him."