Spencer Hawes in danger of missing Sixers’ opener with back problem

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Spencer Hawes is going to be pivotal for the Sixers this season — he’s been brought in from Sacramento and asked to provide all the defense and rebounding that Samuel Dalembert did, plus some of the offense he did not.

Hawes may not be doing that for the season opener.

Back issues have kept Hawes out of the Sixers last three preseason games and his return is not expected for a couple week — right at the start f the season. It is possible Hawes will miss the opener. He talked with the Philadelphia Daily News about that.

“I’ve had the normal stiff-back stuff before, but I’ve never had something as localized as this,” Hawes said. “As frustrating as it is, especially since I felt like I came into training camp in great shape and was doing well, you just have to look at the big picture at the end of the day. I thought it was just soreness from training camp, but it just never really got better. Now, compared to, like, 3 or 4 days ago, I’m feeling a lot better. Before, just walking around was kind of a struggle. But now with all the stretching, I’m making progress. I would say about a week more now.”

Team doctors are saying two weeks, Hawes sis saying one — teams tend to be cautious, players overly optimistic. Hawes could be right by the opener, but as these are the kind of injuries that can linger, better to wait and get right than come back too early.

Because when he does come back they need him at 100 percent. They are asking a lot of him.

Stan Van Gundy rips ‘selfish’ Pistons

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The Pistons had just 19 assists – to 22 turnovers – in their 93-83 loss to the Nets last night.

Stan Van Gundy was none too pleased.

On offensive problems:

I told them in there – that was the first thing – we’re not playing together at all. I thought it was a very selfish performance, and guys wouldn’t just pass the ball to open men. They wanted to see if they could take one more dribble to get their own shot, so the passing angles were gone. I just thought we forced play after play after play. We’re not willing to move the ball

On Reggie Jackson, who scored seven points on 3-of-10 shooting with six assists and six turnovers, and was coming off Achilles soreness:

He was not good at all. He was forcing everything.

On injuries to point guards – Jackson, Brandon Jennings and Steve Blake – hindering the team’s flow in practice and that carrying over to the game:

We could probably make a lot of excuses for our guys, but we were selfish.

Van Gundy is clearly trying to send a message, and the preseason is the best time to do it.

But it’s somewhat troubling he had to do it after this game.

Eight of the 10 Pistons who played against Brooklyn project to make the regular-season rotation. Joel Anthony played over Aron Baynes, and once healthy, Blake could challenge Spencer Dinwiddie to become back up point guard – at least until Jennings is ready. Otherwise, Detroit – with Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Ersan Ilyasova, Andre Drummond, Jodie Meeks, Stanley Johnson and Anthony Tolliver – looked similar to its opening-night lineup.

Van Gundy is blunt, but he doesn’t tell the media things he hasn’t already directly told his players. They appreciate that.

He’d appreciate them getting this message.

Report: Dwight Howard didn’t have offseason surgery

Dwight Howard
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Dwight Howard said he played with a torn MCL and meniscus in the Western Conference finals – pretty shocking news that few knew what to make of.

So, um, did he have offseason surgery?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Howard obviously feels great about his health now, so maybe this was the right course.

We’ll never how Howard would have performed if fully healthy, but he averaged 14.4 points and 14.4 rebounds in 35.1 minutes per game against the Warriors during the conference finals. How bad could the injuries have been?