Sixers Lose NBA Champion for Extended Period


Getty Philadelphia 76ers forward Danny Green during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Those much-anticipated test results for Danny Green weren’t great. The Philadelphia 76ers starter will miss two to three weeks after an MRI confirmed he strained his right calf in Game 3.

Green had been a key piece of the puzzle for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. A three-time world champion who averaged 9.5 points per game in 69 regular-season contests for the Sixers in his first year with the club. His trademark “Danny Green cuts” and lethal corner threes made him well worth the $15.3 million contract they inherited from the Los Angeles Lakers.

With Green out, someone from the bench will have to step up and take his starting spot. The early favorites are Furkan Korkmaz, Shake Milton, or George Hill.

Korkmaz already wowed in his audition for the job on Friday night. He scored a playoff career-high 14 points while drilling three deep balls (3-of-6 from three-point range). After Game 3, the Turkish standout talked openly about being willing, ready, able to handle a spot in the starting five. He’s done it before.

“I mean, I don’t know the situation with Danny right now, but it doesn’t matter if he’s in or out,” Korkmaz said. “I just need to step up if he is out and I will do it.”

Green is officially out and Korkmaz may now be in.

“I’m ready,” Korkmaz said. “I hope it’s not serious. I hope we going to get everybody healthy, that’s my first goal. But if he’s out I’m definitely ready to step up.”

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It Could Have Been Worse

Look at the bright side of Green’s ailing calf and see he’s only out for one round. That’s four more games unless the Sixers take the next two and end it. Green could potentially be back in time to face either the Milwaukee Bucks or Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference Finals. With the way he hobbled off the court, it could have been a lot worse than that.

The Sixers also saw All-Star center Joel Embiid endure a few hard tumbles in Game 3. Embiid has been taking a beating while playing on a torn meniscus, plus he rolled his ankle on Friday night. Head coach Doc Rivers has been amazed at Embiid’s toughness.

“He’s playing hard. He’s giving us everything,” Rivers said. “And as you know, I never ask how a guy is feeling because he may tell you. But what he’s doing is incredible. He’s going through a lot, I can tell you that, and it’s been great to watch.”

Sixers Teammates: ‘Furk Was Balling’

Consider Tobias Harris the founding member of the Furkan Korkmaz Fan Club. He was hyping up the “swag and confidence” of the 6-foot-7 shooter in Game 3. They are going to need more big nights from Korkmaz to achieve their stated goal of winning a championship.

“Furk was balling,” Harris told reporters after Game 3. “That’s the thing with the playoffs and the beauty of the playoffs. Being on a team like ours, it could be a different guy every night who brings that added effort. You saw in the first half when Furk got hot out there, got his swag and his confidence shooting the three out there and made a big three in the fourth quarter. You love to see it.”

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