MCW Returns To Practice; Noel Out Friday

by Max Rappaport
Sixers.com Writer
@MaxRappaport

Six months ago to the day, Michael Carter-Williams underwent surgery to repair the labrum in his right shoulder. On Thursday, the reigning Rookie of the Year participated in his first full practice since the procedure.

“I was a little winded out there, but I feel great,” said Carter-Williams, who had been just a partial participant in Sixers practices since training camp opened in late September. “I feel a lot stronger, I feel quicker, and I can definitely take more hits and finish [through them]… I can’t even feel [effects from] the shoulder when I’m out there.”

The shoulder issue is one the 23-year-old first began to experience as a freshman season at Syracuse three years ago. Despite putting together a record-setting rookie campaign in which he averaged 16.7 points, 6.3 assists, and 6.2 rebounds per game, Carter-Williams continued to feel the effects of the injury throughout last year, prompting him and the team to opt for procedure in early May. 

"The health of our players is our primary concern," said Sixers President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Sam Hinkie in a statement released at the time of the surgery. "There were a number of healthy discussions between Michael, our medical team, several medical specialists, and Michael's representatives. After careful consideration and thoughtful research, we collectively agreed that it was in Michael's best interest to move forward with the procedure now and allow for maximum recovery time."

The Sixers hope to have Carter-Williams, who’s added 15 pounds of muscle during the offseason, back on the floor for game action in one week, when the team travels to Dallas to take on the Mavericks on November 13. His presence will be a welcome sight for head coach Brett Brown.

“[With his] intellect, poise, [ability to] control the game to win close games, I see him helping out tremendously,” said Brown. “The team was excited to have him back. Everybody had a bounce in their step, and the ball moved.

“[When he returns], I think the passing will go up a notch, and the turnovers will go down a notch. I think how we close out games and navigate four to five minute stretches when the momentum is being turned, those things [will improve].”

Brown has challenged Carter-Williams to become a more vocal leader on a Sixers team that holds the distinction as the youngest in the league. The second-year point guard has accepted the challenge and is anxious to return to action with Philadelphia fighting to earn its first notch in the win column.

“It’s tough, because we’re trying to get over the hump and get our first win. And we’re right there. The guys are playing hard and playing good,” he said. “Definitely me being in [close games] last year, trying to close the game with a big shot or making the right pass and letting someone else finish, I think I can definitely help out with that. I think the guys feed off me when I’m out there. When I’m moving the ball, they’re moving the ball." 

Said Brown of Carter-Williams’ level of anticipation to return to action, “He’s the Rookie of the Year coming back and feeling that he has to defend his belt.”

Noel Questionable For Friday’s Game

In the third quarter of Wednesday’s loss to the Magic, rookie Nerlens Noel inadvertently stepped on the foot of teammate Luc Mbah a Moute, turning his left ankle and being forced to leave the game. The 20-year-old big man attempted to go through drills in practice on Thursday, but ended up watching the majority of the session from the sidelines while riding a stationary bicycle.

While Coach Brown was quick to note that the injury does not appear to be serious, he does not expect Noel to suit up Friday against the Bulls.

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