Iverson Expected To Start Against Former Team On Monday Night

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

Allen Iverson practiced with the Philadelphia 76ers for the first time in three years and is expected to start when they play Monday night against Denver.

Iverson practiced with the first team of Elton Brand, Samuel Dalembert, Thaddeus Young and Willie Green on Sunday. Leading scorer Andre Iguodala did not practice with a sore right ankle.

Iverson was back in a 76ers practice jersey for the first time since they traded him in 2006. Coach Eddie Jordan expects Iverson to start against the Nuggets.

"He made a difference already in practice," Jordan said. "His talking, his presence, being a step ahead of the play defensively."

Iverson's second stint won't look much different from when he left the first time. The Sixers are 5-15 and have lost nine straight games. When the Sixers traded him on Dec. 19, 2006, they were 5-18 and on an 11-game losing streak.

Iverson's return has given the Sixers a jolt in tickets sales. The Sixers, who ranked 29th in the NBA in attendance, have standing-room only tickets left for his return.

"That whole thing is probably more for the fans than anything else," Iverson said.

He may start, but he isn't counting on playing anywhere near 48 minutes. Iverson played only three games with Memphis this season, and hasn't played since Nov. 6, leaving him a bit winded after the nearly 45-minute practice.

"It's frustrating for me because I was kind of in a rhythm before I left Memphis," Iverson said. "Sitting out as much as I did, I kind of got off beat a little bit. It won't take me but a little while to get it back."

The 10-time All-Star guard who has scored more than 24,000 points signed a non-guaranteed deal with the 76ers last week.

"I'm trying to learn this whole thing on the fly," Iverson said. "That's the toughest part."

Iverson posted the highest scoring average in Sixers history (28.1), was second on the points list (19,583) and holds the record for 3-pointers (877). He was a seven-time All-Star, won two All-Star game MVPs and was NBA MVP when he led the Sixers to the NBA finals in 2001.

"I don't put no pressure on myself," Iverson said. "It's basketball. It's something I love to do."


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