Michael Carter-Williams (Image c/o Sixers.com)
Six months after having shoulder surgery, point guard Michael Carter-Williams returned to Sixers practice for the first time on Thursday. With the team still waiting to get that first elusive win of the season after losing a heartbreaker to the Orlando Magic on Wednesday 91-89, MCW’s return can’t come fast enough.
The surgery, which was to repair the labrum in his right shoulder, sidelined MCW for training camp as well as the entire preseason. If things continue to go according to plan, Carter-Williams should make his season debut on November 13 against the Dallas Mavericks.
For his part, Carter-Williams sounded like he was just glad to be practicing again and seeing the results of his summer spent rehabbing and putting on 15 pounds of muscle. He told Max Rappaport of Sixers.com on Thursday
“I was a little winded out there, but I feel great. I feel a lot stronger, I feel quicker, and I can definitely take more hits and finish [through them]… I can’t even feel [effects from] the shoulder when I’m out there.”
The return of MCW to the hardwood should be a welcome sight to just about everyone (except Sam Hinkie) and should give the Sixers a much needed boost. Carter-Williams is coming off an amazing rookie campaign where he averaged 16.7 points, 6.3 assists, and 6.2 rebounds per game on his way to winning Rookie of the Year honors, the only bright spot in an otherwise forgettable season.
With Thaddeus Young gone as part of the massive Kevin Love deal, MCW is now the undisputed leader of this team, a role both he and coach Brett Brown want him to accept and run with. When asked what he brings to the game, he told Max Rappaport
“Definitely me being in [close games] last year, trying to close the game with a big shot or making the right pass and letting someone else finish, I think I can definitely help out with that. I think the guys feed off me when I’m out there. When I’m moving the ball, they’re moving the ball.”
While Tony Wroten has been doing an exceptional job as the starting point guard in MCW’s absence, averaging a team-leading 19.3 points per game, having Carter-Williams back should do nothing but help the team going forward. Plans call for Wroten to move over to the shooting guard slot once MCW returns, which he tells John Finger of CSN Philly.com he has been getting ready for.
“We can both play both positions, so that should help us a lot. We’re both big guards and can get rebounds and be able to kick it out fast.”
In the meantime, the Sixers have a brutal stretch of games ahead of them, which include dates with the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets and NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs.
Michael Carter-Williams cannot come back fast enough.