76ers' Brand out for the season

February 5, 2009 4:06:40 PM PST
Elton Brand's first season in Philadelphia is over. Brand will have season-ending surgery on his right shoulder Monday, reducing the 76ers' marquee free-agent to only 29 games. Brand was first injured Dec. 17 against Milwaukee and has played in six games since his return.

He signed a five-year deal worth nearly $80 million in July and averaged only 13.8 points and 8.8 rebounds in 29 games. Brand missed all but nine games of last season with a torn Achillies'.

"It's the most disappointed I've ever been in my career," Brand said. "This was supposed to be special. This was supposed to be winning, supposed to be fun. Management believed in me. I'm still not going to let them down."

Brand had an MRI after sitting out the second half of a 100-99 loss to Boston on Tuesday night. The Sixers first said Wednesday the test revealed no new damage to his right shoulder, and he could play against Indiana on Thursday night

The MRI results were reviewed by team doctor Jack McPhilemy and Dr. Craig Morgan, of the Morgan-Kalman Clinic in Wilmington, Del., who concluded that the initial tear of the labrum in Brand's right shoulder is responsible for a considerable decrease in the range of motion and instability.

The surgery will take place at the Wilmington Surgery Center.

"Elton wanted to do whatever he could to get back on the court and initially elected to forgo surgery in order to help his teammates," team president Ed Stefanski said. "He worked as hard as he could over the past six weeks to return, however the scope of the injury would not allow it."

Thaddeus Young has started at power forward in Brand's absence, and reserves Marreese Speights and Reggie Evans will see their minutes increase. Stefanski believes the Sixers can make the playoffs with a combination of those three and doesn't expect to pursue a trade.

The Sixers made the playoffs last season, but were 23-24 heading into Thursday's game. They already fired coach Maurice Cheeks and replaced him with Tony DiLeo and have lost two straight games in agonizing fashion. Still, Stefanski said the expectations remain the same.

"I think we're a playoff team even without Elton," Stefanski said.

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