The last thing the Philadelphia 76ers need less than a week before the season begins is more bad news on the injury front.
That’s exactly what they got on Friday, when Nerlens Noel elected to have arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and coach Brett Brown acknowledged that he may have been overly optimistic about the timeline for Ben Simmons’ highly anticipated debut.
Noel has been experiencing soreness and, after consulting with several specialists, elected to have inflamed plica removed from his knee, the Sixers announced. There was no timetable for his return, but general recovery periods range from three to five weeks, meaning Noel will miss the season opener at home against Oklahoma City on Wednesday.
As worrisome, Brown said before the Sixers played in Miami on Friday night that he jumped the gun on his initial estimate of a January return for Simmons, the No. 1 overall pick who had surgery on his right foot in early October.
“I was just getting excited about how soon he might be able to come back,” Brown told reporters in Miami before the game. “There are so much speculations and dates as a coach, you sort of want to hear what you want to hear at a time. I did mention a January hopeful return. That is premature.”
The Sixers also announced that point guard Jerryd Bayless, who signed a three-year, $27 million contract this summer, will not have surgery to address ligament issues in his left wrist that have kept him out of the entire preseason. His rehab will continue for another two weeks before he is evaluated again.
WIZARDS 119, RAPTORS 82
WASHINGTON — John Wall had 15 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds as the Washington cruised past Toronto.
Wall hit 3 of 4 3-point attempts and Washington shot 58 percent for the game.
DeMar DeRozan scored 34 points on 11-for-24 shooting for the Raptors.
RAPTORS: Toronto shot 35 percent for the game and just 20 percent (4 for 20) from 3. … DeRozan was the only player in double figures for the Raptors. … Kyle Lowry scored eight points on 3-for-11 shooting.
WIZARDS: Markieff Morris scored 19 points and hit all three of his 3-pointers. … Bradley Beal scored 19 on 8-for-16 shooting. … All five Washington starters scored at least 15 points. … The Wizards out-rebounded Toronto 50-36.
UP NEXT: Toronto (4-3) hosts Detroit in its season opener on Wednesday. Washington (4-3) visits Atlanta on Thursday.
TIMBERWOLVES 109, HORNETS 74
MINNEAPOLIS — Brandon Rush scored 14 points and hit all four of his 3-pointers to help the Timberwolves breeze past the Hornets.
Karl-Anthony Towns had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Wolves despite playing just 15 minutes because of foul trouble.
Marco Belinelli was the only Hornet in double figures with 10 points.
HORNETS: Frank Kaminsky played just eight minutes before leaving with a sprained right foot. … After playing at home on Thursday night, forwards Marvin Williams and Nicolas Batum did not make the trip to Minnesota. … The Hornets shot 31.6 percent from the field, including 13 percent (3 for 22) from 3-point range.
TIMBERWOLVES: Andrew Wiggins sat out a second straight game after suffering an allergic reaction earlier this week. He participated in warmups and watched from the bench, his face still noticeably swollen. … Shabazz Muhammad had 17 points in 19 minutes after sitting out the previous game with a sore right hip. … Ricky Rubio had 10 points, six assists and four rebounds and was the trigger man during a 31-12 third quarter that broke the game open.
UP NEXT: Charlotte (3-4) opens the season at Milwaukee on Wednesday. Minnesota (5-2) visits Memphis on Wednesday.
76ERS 113, HEAT 110
MIAMI — Dario Saric scored 19 points, and Joel Embiid capped off a strong preseason with 18 points in 18 minutes for Philadelphia.
Jerami Grant scored 17 for the 76ers, who trailed by as many as 10 points.
Goran Dragic scored 17 points and handed out seven assists for Miami. Hassan Whiteside scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and Dragic and Whiteside both shot 5 for 6 from the field.
76ERS: Philadelphia got 13 points from Sergio Rodriguez. … The 76ers turned 19 Miami turnovers into 26 points. … Robert Covington left the game with a sprained right ankle.
HEAT: Willie Reed scored 13 points. … Miami had a chance to tie, but Luis Montero’s 3-point attempt with 2 seconds left bounced off the rim. … The Heat were only 31 of 49 from the free throw line.
UP NEXT: Philadelphia (2-5) hosts Oklahoma City in its season opener on Wednesday. Miami (4-4) visits Orlando to open its season on Wednesday.
SPURS 114, ROCKETS 99
SAN ANTONIO — Bryn Forbes made a strong push to make the final roster, scoring 19 points and hitting 4 of 5 3-point attempts for the Spurs.
Forbes is battling with four others for the only available roster spot. He made 7 of 11 shots in 28 minutes and scored 12 points in the fourth quarter.
Bobby Brown had 23 points and nine assists in 32 minutes for Houston.
ROCKETS: James Harden did not play. … Nene had 15 points on 7-for-8 shooting in 19 minutes. … Houston went 8 for 35 on 3-pointers.
SPURS: Danny Green has been diagnosed with a left quad strain and is expected to be out approximately three weeks. … Spotted in the crowd, according to the San Antonio Express-News: a black T-shirt emblazoned with “Popovich, Duncan ’16. Make America Great Again.”
UP NEXT: San Antonio (4-2) opens the regular season on Tuesday at Golden State. Houston (5-2) visits the Lakers on Wednesday.
NUGGETS 101, MAVERICKS 75
DENVER — Danilo Gallinari scored 16 points and didn’t miss a shot in 16 minutes for the Nuggets.
Gallinari was 4 for 4 from the field, including 2 for 2 on 3-pointers, and 6 for 6 at the free throw line.
Dirk Nowitzki scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds in 29 minutes.
MAVERICKS: Wesley Matthews scored 10 points and was the only Maverick in double figures. … Harrison Barnes scored eight points in 26 minutes and was a minus-29. … Andrew Bogut had five fouls in the first half and was out early in the third quarter. … Dallas shot 38 percent, including 24 percent from 3.
NUGGETS: Nikola Jokic scored 12 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists. … Wilson Chandler had 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting in 22 minutes. … Jarnell Stokes played solid on both ends as he makes a push for the final roster spot. … Denver shot 51 percent and had 26 assists.
UP NEXT: Dallas (2-5) opens the season at Indiana on Wednesday. Denver (4-4) opens at New Orleans on Wednesday.