Skip to main content

With Ben Simmons failing to participate in training camp and the preseason, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers allowed the starting point guard position to be an open competition during the offseason. The two key participants were second-year guard Tyrese Maxey and fourth-year guard Shake Milton.

Due to an unfortunate setback, Maxey became the temporary winner. Nearly two weeks ago, Milton stepped on Andre Drummond's foot during practice. Going down after rolling his ankle, Milton was diagnosed with a sprain.

Milton was ruled out the next night as the Sixers hosted the Brooklyn Nets for their third preseason matchup. After failing to practice over the next few days, he also missed the Sixers' preseason finale against the Detroit Pistons.

At this point, Milton has yet to return to practice. Although he's been present every day leading up to the team's season opener, Milton hasn't had the opportunity to participate in any live drills or scrimmages.

Read More

Earlier this week, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers offered a not-so-promising update on the young guard. "I don't know what his status is," Rivers said in regards to Milton a few days ago. "I know he's out. Shake is nowhere near playing yet. He'll be out for a while."

On Wednesday, ahead of the Sixers' opener against the New Orleans Pelicans on the road, a matchup which Milton was ruled out from, Rivers was singing a slightly different tune as he feels the young guard's return could be closer than expected.

"He's running more, and honestly, they tell me early on if a guy's playing," Rivers said according to Ky Carlin of Sixers Wire. "I just ask him how he is doing, and every player gives you the same answer 'I'm close.' So, I think he's close. I can't give a guestimate, but the fact that he's sprinting and stopping and going, that's huge. So I feel that he actually is close."

On Wednesday, the Sixers did just fine without Ben Simmons and Milton in the lineup, considering they dominated the Pelicans and picked up a 117-97 victory. However, not every matchup will be as easy. Outside of Maxey, the Sixers don't have another veteran ball-handler. Relying on Furkan Korkmaz and Isaiah Joe to run the point off the bench might work temporarily, but the Sixers will need reinforcements soon.

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.