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"Next man up" for Thad-less Sixers

by Max Rappaport, Sixers.com
Posted: February 6, 2013

It is something Sixers fans have grown accustomed to seeing – sixth-year forward Thaddeus Young sacrificing his body in order to collect a loose ball or get in the way of a cutting offensive player to draw a charge. What followed a standard hustle play from the Sixer captain Monday night, though, was something of a rare sight for the Philly faithful – Young taking a shot and staying down. 

The injury occurred with 5:46 remaining in the second quarter of a 78-61 win over the Orlando Magic, when the 6-8 forward took an awkward step while jockeying for position with big man Gustavo Ayon on a long rebound opportunity. Young tumbled to the hardwood, staying down and pounding the floor in pain before being attended to by team trainers. He was taken to the Sixers' locker room and did not return. 

An MRI on Tuesday revealed a Grade 1 strain of Young's left hamstring. The injury is expected to keep him sidelined for approximately three weeks. 

"When I first did it, it felt like a rubber band snapping and then going back into place," said Young after receiving the news that the injury was less severe than he had initially feared. "The good thing is that we have the All-Star break coming up (February 14-19) and that's going to [give me] a week of relaxation and [of] just trying to get myself [healthy]." 

Now, the Sixers, who are no strangers to battling through injuries this season, will once again look to their bench for quality minutes.

After Young went down, head coach Doug Collins leaned upon newly promoted starter Spencer Hawes (37 minutes played) and second-year reserve Lavoy Allen (31 minutes played) to carry the crux of the load, with the latter logging 22 of his 31 total minutes after Young's spill. 

Over the Sixers' current three-game win streak, Allen has seen his minutes, and his production, increase, averaging 9.3 points (60.9 FG%), 6.7 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in 26.4 minutes per game during the stretch.

"I'm definitely going to step my game up," said Allen of likely seeing his role expand in Young's absence. "Me, Spencer (Hawes), Arnett (Moultrie), maybe Kwame (Brown) coming off the bench… this is going to be a group effort."

The third name on Allen's aforementioned list, rookie big man Arnett Moultrie, logged double-digit minutes (12) for just the second time this season Monday night; all 12 came after Young went down. He logged four points on three shot attempts, blocked a shot, and pulled down one rebound on each end of the floor. 

"I'm ready to go," said Moultrie. "Whatever the team needs me to do, I can go out there and do it. 

"It's next man up. We're all going to have to go out there and bring a lot of energy, no matter who that man is."