PHILADELPHIA — PHILADELPHIA -- Charles Barkley, out for six games with an injured rib cage, practiced with the Philadelphia 76ers yesterday and could be ready to return to action tomorrow night against the Denver Nuggets.
Barkley took part in the full scrimmage session, ran the floor well and even dunked the ball a few times. It was his longest practice session in more than two weeks.
"I'm very optimistic about what we saw today," said trainer Tony Harris. "We wanted him to try and approximate the things he would normally do in a game. He mixed it up, and I think he felt pretty good."
Barkley will practice again today, and be evaluated for the final time after a morning shoot-around session tomorrow.
"I'd have to say today was encouraging," said coach Jim Lynam. "He's significantly further down the road to recovery than he was last Wednesday or Thursday. Tony Harris told me and Charles in very strong terms on Friday that he wasn't ready to go. And if Charles said he was ready he was lying to himself and risking a significant setback. He said if we stay with the program, we'll see progress and he's been right on the money."
The injury, which involves the muscles in the left rear rib area, happened Nov. 11 when Barkley landed in an odd way on the floor.