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November 20, 2019

Sixers' Josh Richardson to miss Wednesday's game vs. Knicks with 'hip flexor tightness'

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16_Josh_Richardson_76ersvsCeltics_Sixers_KateFrese.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Sixers guard Josh Richardson.

Josh Richardson will miss Wednesday''s game against the New York Knicks due to tightness in his right hip flexor, according to the 1:30 p.m. injury report provided by the NBA on gamedays.

As of yesterday's 8:30 p.m. public report provided by the league, Richardson had not been previously listed with any sort of health issue. A team spokesman told PhillyVoice Richardson came in on Wednesday morning and reported the tightness to the Sixers' staff, leading to him eventually being ruled out for the game.

This is not, from my understanding, a means to simply rest Richardson against the hapless New York Knicks, and the Sixers say he will be re-evaluated tomorrow, in addition to any follow-up on Wednesday night with the Sixers playing in their home arena. 

Curiously, Wednesday's 1:30 report claimed his previous status was "questionable" in spite of it being his first appearance on the injury report in recent days, which doesn't seem to add up with the public reports. But this is just a reflection of what can be a multi-step process for injury reporting in the interest of transparency for the league. To lay it out in this example:

  1. Josh Richardson comes in on Wednesday morning complaining of tightness
  2. With his availability first becoming in doubt, the Sixers provide an update through the league portal in the 11 a.m. hour downgrading Richardson to questionable. This informs both the league and Philadelphia's opponent (in this case, the Knicks) of the change in designation, but it remains an internal designation
  3. Philadelphia determines before the public reporting deadline that Richardson will not play against New York, they downgrade him again to out, and that information is shared to the public in addition to the internal communication

While "load management" has been at the center of most NBA injury discussions, the league has also been on a mission to crack down on gamesmanship with injuries in general. The Sixers rather infamously would leave Joel Embiid's injury status up in the air until the moments before tip-off, something they're no longer able to do with the league requiring teams to submit lineups a half hour before tip-off starting this year.

The question for Philadelphia is how they'll respond to the absence of Richardson, who is one of their few reliable-ish ballhandlers on the team, other offensive warts aside. Odds are Brett Brown tries to add some more shooting to the starting lineup and rolls with Furkan Korkmaz, though considering the strength of the opponent, it is theoretically a golden opportunity for Philadelphia to experiment and try something different, perhaps by putting another ballhandler (a la Trey Burke or Raul Neto) on the floor next to Simmons.

The Sixers said they were not prepared to comment on whether this was just a small, day-to-day issue or not for Richardson, so stay tuned on the further evaluations to come. With the Sixers playing three games in four days from Friday through Monday, including a date with Richardson's former team, the Miami Heat, they'll all be hoping he's back in the lineup ASAP.

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