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Sunday, May 6, 2012
Sixers' Iguodala playing through pain

By Andy Jasner

Andre Iguodala
Sixers forward Andre Iguodala has been slowed by an Achilles injury.

PHILADELPHIA -- Andre Iguodala was noticeably wincing at times during the Philadelphia 76ers’ 79-74 victory over the Chicago Bulls in Game 3 Friday night.

He’s likely to be wincing again in Game 4 on Sunday.

And for the rest of the series.

Iguodala has been battling an injured Achilles tendon in his right foot, which he originally aggravated April 23 at New Jersey. The Achilles bothered him two nights ago and limited his explosiveness around the basket.

Iguodala was 2-for-9 and missed all five of his 3-pointers.

Perimeter shooting is hardly Iguodala’s strength. But the sore Achilles severely hampered his mobility.

“It’s hard to get up on your toes and you’re pretty much shooting flat footed,” Iguodala said. “Overall, I can think the game. The Achilles takes away from my athletic ability, but it doesn’t take from my game.”

Iguodala’s offense may be slumping, but his defense has been tremendous. He has limited Chicago’s Luol Deng to 5-for-19 shooting over the past two games.

Iguodala finished seventh in the balloting for Defensive Player of the Year in a season in which he also earned his first All-Star Game appearence.

“That’s a big part of my game,” Iguodala said. “I take pride in my defense no matter what’s happening on the offensive end. In the playoffs, you win with defense.”

Still, the Achilles injury continues to get worse each day. Iguodala constantly receives treatment and plans to gut out the rest of the series.

The Sixers haven’t advanced past the first round of the playoffs since 2002-03.

“The Achilles, it gets worse every day,” Iguodala said. “It gets worse every time you aggravate it and play. These games are important. I want to be on the court for my teammates.”

His teammates have sure noticed.

“’Dre is our leader and he prides himself in stopping the other guy from scoring,” said point guard Jrue Holiday. “He has done a great job on Luol. ‘Dre helps create defense to offense and he’s doing it while banged up. We see that. We’ve got his back. It’s bringing us closer together.”