Sixers’ Randolph suffers gruesome ankle injuryBy Joe Juliano
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Shavlik Randolph, the 76ers' second-year forward, suffered a fractured and dislocated ankle during today's practice at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and was rushed to a local hospital.
According to Sixers forward Andre Iguodala, Randolph was playing defense in the lane as Iguodala drove to the basket. The two players collided in mid-air, and the 6-foot-10 Randolph lost his balance and rolled his left ankle as he landed on the floor.
Witnesses to the play said that as Randolph lay on the floor in pain, players turned away so as not to look at what appeared to be a gruesome injury. Randolph was attended to by Kevin Johnson, the team's head athletic trainer, before paramedics came in and rushed the player to Roxborough Memorial Hospital.
A Sixers spokesman said Randolph was being evaluated and that an updated report on his condition would be announced later today or tonight.
Iguodala said the way the injury looked, it was comparable to when Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann suffered a broken leg when hit by New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor during a Monday Night Football game in the 1980s.
"It's something that you've never seen before," said Iguodala, who was not injured in the collision. "Hopefully, it looked worse than it really was but we don't know yet. But I think he handled himself well. It looked like he was in a lot of pain. But he was joking with us and he made a couple of jokes, like he'd be fine."
Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said he was near the mid-court line when the accident occurred and didn't see exactly what happened.
"I've never seen anything like it," he said of the injury. "It was bad."
"It just reinforces how fortunate we are when we play this game and you never really have injuries, to go out and and try and put your best foot forward, because you never know when something can happen. So it kind of reinforces how fortunate we were."
Cheeks said he knew the injury was bad just from the horrified looks of the other players.
"To see [the injury] and then see the reaction of the players, I think probably that was more than anything," he said. "Certainly, Shav was our most concern. But then when you see the reaction of the players, I thought that was more telling than anything."
Cheeks called off the rest of the practice after the injury.
Randolph was averaging 4.5 points and 4.2 rebounds in 13 games for the Sixers. He had seen more playing time recently because of a back injury to Chris Webber. He scored a career-high 12 points last Saturday night against Cleveland and matched a career best with seven offensive rebounds on Monday night at Miami.
Randolph, 23, was signed last year as a free agent by the Sixers after giving up his senior year of eligibility at Duke. He suffered a left foot fracture in 2005 training camp and missed the first seven games of his rookie year. But he wound up playing in 57 games, averaging 2.3 points and 2.3 rebounds.