Ever since the 2021-2022 preseason started, Philadelphia 76ers veteran forward Tobias Harris has been dealing with a notable setback. Harris was kneed in the knee, leading up to the first game against the Toronto Raptors on the road. Therefore, he was ruled out with knee soreness.
Considering the Sixers made it clear Harris' absence against the Raptors was for precautionary reasons, it seemed he wouldn't be off the court for long. When the Sixers and the Raptors met for a rematch a few nights later, Harris made his 2021-2022 preseason debut.
Gaining three quarters of action, Harris wrapped up the Sixers' second preseason battle versus Toronto with 24 minutes of playing time. He shot 5-9 from the floor and collected 14 points, four assists, and four rebounds.
Unfortunately, that turned out to be the first and final set of action Harris got in the preseason. Two days later, the Sixers participated in a public scrimmage in Delaware. Despite getting a workout in beforehand, Harris didn't play in the big event.
A couple of nights later, when the Sixers hosted the Brooklyn Nets for their third preseason matchup, and Harris sat out once again. When the Sixers returned to Camden, New Jersey, for practice on Wednesday, Doc Rivers confirmed that Harris wasn't in on the action, and the same went for Thursday's session as well.
Going into Friday's preseason finale against the Detroit Pistons, Rivers expressed doubt in Harris getting on the floor. However, he offered some positive intel on the veteran's setback, making it clear that Harris could probably push through the pain and play if the stakes were higher for the game.
"This is a part of the plan," Rivers said on Thursday. "Like, if this were playoffs, Tobias would be playing; let's put it that way. We just felt like getting ahead of it. Make sure there is no lingering problems. Everybody who is out other than Shake or Grant would probably be playing tonight if it was a playoff game. But sitting with people that are smarter than me feel like building them up. We play Friday, we'll have Saturday off, then we have three good days of practice, and we are hoping every single guy is on the practice floor by Sunday. That's what we are looking for."
As Rivers expected, Harris returned to the court for Sunday afternoon's practice. After getting involved in his first set of action for the first time in days, Harris offered an update on how his knee feels.
"My knee is feeling better, so today was kind of my first practice I was able to [participate]," Harris said. "I felt good out there. So, we'll see how it reacts tomorrow and go from there day by day. It was a good day of practice for me. It was good to get back out there with the guys and have participation. That was fun for me."
It's too early to tell whether Harris will get the opportunity to play in the Sixers' season-opener against the New Orleans Pelicans or not. While he's back out on the floor practicing, he'll likely have to feel one-hundred percent healthy within the next few days to get the green light to play.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.