The Philadelphia 76ers could get another reinforcement on Saturday as the team slowly gets healthier. Although the Sixers will remain shorthanded on Saturday night when they take on the Portland Trail Blazers on the road, third-year guard Matisse Thybulle could be back in the mix as he's been upgraded to questionable.
Thybulle last saw the court a couple of weeks back when the Sixers faced the Detroit Pistons on the road on November 4. The following day after the 76ers defeated Detroit, the young guard became the third member of the team to be entered into the NBA's health and safety protocol, following Tobias Harris and Isaiah Joe.
He went on to miss the next seven games for the Sixers. For that stretch, Philly fell into a slump as they lost all but two of the their last seven games. While the absence of Joel Embiid has certainly been the most significant factor in the Sixers' struggles over that stretch, the void of Thybulle on the defensive end has been quite noticeable to Sixers coaches and players lately as well.
"Our deflections and steals are way down because of that," Rivers said last week in regards to Thybulle and Embiid's absences. "Part of our success offensively is our ability to get stops. Now that we can't get stops, they're able to run, and that's just the way the game goes. So we have to find ourselves on this road trip for sure. It's so many little things. Just the collective IQ is down as well when you lose two guys like that, so we'll figure it out. We got five more games on the road to do that. We'll probably even possibly have two practices during this stretch."
Although the Sixers finally picked up a win after losing their last five games, they definitely need more bodies on the floor Saturday night as their current road trip is a difficult one. Thybulle will more than likely have a minutes restriction if he does return since he hasn't played or practiced in weeks. But just having the extra depth could be a major boost for the Sixers against Portland on Saturday.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.