Last season, Spencer Hawes played 35 minutes or more in two of the 81 games he played. The Sixers' starting center averaged only 21 minutes per game during his first year in Philadelphia.

Monday night in Portland, the first game of the regular season, Hawes played 39 minutes, finishing with 10 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists.

The fact that he was on the floor at all was seriously in question Monday morning. The team held a closed practice on Sunday night when it arrived in Portland. During that session when two sides were scrimmaging, Hawes was making a move in the post against rookie Nik Vucevic when the rookie suddenly fell into Hawes left knee.

Two people in the gym held their breath fearing a serious injury had just occurred – Hawes and Doug Collins.

"I was worried and I think Spencer was a little bit scared," Collins said. "We were lucky that it wasn't anything serious because Nik fell into him and he does weigh 260 pounds. It could have been a freak injury where you lose a guy, especially a guy right now who is playing as well as anybody on our team."

"As soon as I planted my foot it (knee) got hit and buckled in and down," Hawes said. "At first I thought it was a lot worse than it was and that scared me because I felt so much in one area. But I went down right away and got all the tests, got ice on it to keep the swelling down, and I keep treating it. I'm doing everything until it's back 100 percent."