Richardson To Start Against Pacers After 25 Months Away

by Doug Ammon

After more than 25 months away from the court, Jason Richardson will suit up for his first NBA game since January 18, 2013 when the Sixers take on the Pacers on Friday, and he’ll do so as a member of the starting five.  

Over the past two years, the 34-year-old swingman has been hindered by a left knee injury that forced him to undergo surgery and a lengthy rehab. And the last time he took the floor, it was at the age of 32, in a game near the midpoint of a season in which he was averaging 10.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in a little over 28 minutes per night.

Things look very different now for Richardson, as each of his teammates during his last game as a Sixer are now on other teams or out of the NBA entirely.

“I’m super excited. I maybe got about four hours of sleep last night,” said a grinning Richardson in the locker room an hour before tip. “I’m a veteran, so I know not to force it too much, just try to get warm, get involved in the game, and help these young guys out.”

Head coach Brett Brown said the veteran won’t see extended minutes and will be limited to playing four four-minute spurts against the Pacers.

“He’s a fantastic story and a fantastic example for even myself,” Brown said. “For our young guys to see his work ethic, and see he just wouldn’t go away. For me to bring him into my office an hour ago and tell him we’re going to play you and start you, and then look at him, you just get goose bumps. For us to introduce and play him again is an incredible message for all of us.”