October 29, 2019
The Sixers have ruled Shake Milton out through at least their upcoming West Coast road trip, a team spokesman relayed to PhillyVoice on Tuesday afternoon.
Milton suffered a bone bruise and a mild knee sprain in his left knee in Monday's game against the Atlanta Hawks. Milton hyperextended his leg while attempting to post up during the third quarter, and would end up walking back to the locker room under his own power moments later before being quickly ruled out for the rest of the game.
Philadelphia's road trip begins this upcoming Saturday against the Portland Trailblazers and will conclude in Denver on 11/8. As of now, the plan is for Milton to be reevaluated following the trip, upon which further updates will be provided on his availability, though he will continue to travel with the team during the trip.
The Sixers consider this to be good news, as there were some initial fears about the severity of the injury.
So what exactly does this mean for the Sixers in the short term? Milton had impressed during the preseason and in training camp as a potential deep bench piece, and head coach Brett Brown gave him a chance to play real minutes in each of Philadelphia's last two games, with Milton showing off the shooting touch and attacking skills the organization coveted in him enough to give him a four-year deal in the offseason.
It was not out of the question Milton was going to play himself into a larger role in short order, and that will obviously have to wait for right now. For the time being, that probably means you'll see Furkan Korkmaz continue to get minutes as Brown attempts to "grow a bomber" on his bench. Given Korkmaz's play to start this season and in the past, that likely won't be a popular move amongst fans.
From what I have been told, I wouldn't expect any corresponding moves to account for Milton's absence, a la recalling Zhaire Smith from the Delaware Blue Coats. These situations are always fluid, but the Sixers sound prepared to make this work with the players they have on hand, whether that means bumping up the minutes count for someone like Korkmaz or changing the rotations up a bit to incorporate new players. Bringing Raul Neto or Trey Burke into the fold would allow the Sixers to Josh Richardson to play more minutes as a wing, for example.
In any case, Milton should be back in the mix sooner rather than later, and his team should be able to carry on just fine while he recovers. Crisis averted.
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