PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - The Philadelphia 76ers’ hopes of landing a post-season berth suffered a major blow on Thursday when the team revealed that key forward Elton Brand will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery.
Brand dislocated his right shoulder on Dec. 17 against the Milwaukee Bucks and was hoping to return to the court without surgery.
“Elton wanted to do whatever he could to get back on the court and initially elected to forego surgery in order to help his team mates,” general manager Ed Stefanski said in a statement.
“He worked as hard as he could over the past six weeks to return, however the scope of the injury would not allow it.”
Team doctors said surgery was needed to reduce the risk of further damage to the shoulder.
Brand, 29, was signed by the Sixers in the off-season as one of the jewels of the free-agent market. The number one overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft had averaged 13.8 points and 8.8 rebounds in 29 games for the Sixers this season.
The double All-Star has career averages of 20 points and 10.1 rebounds.
Philadelphia is in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with a 23-24 record.