July 4, 2012 10:35:22 AM
Matthew Stevens - [email protected]
Former Mississippi State University forward Arnett Moultrie already has suffered his first professional setback before getting a chance to suit up for his new team.
Moultrie, who the Miami Heat selected with the No. 27 pick in the NBA draft on Thursday and then traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, suffered a severe left ankle sprain that will force him to miss the summer league session designed for rookies and second-year players.
The 76ers announced Tuesday that Moultrie suffered the injury last month at a pre-draft workout. The organization said Moultrie will attend the games in Orlando and will work primarily with the team's medical and training staff to be ready for the start of the preseason.
Less than month after Miami won the 2012 NBA championship,
it selected the 6-foot-11 forward at the end of the first round. But the Heat traded Moultrie's draft rights to the 76ers for the No. 45 pick in the draft and a future first-round selection.
"It makes you feel good to know they wanted me that badly," Moultrie said Friday in the team's press conference in Philadelphia.
"It makes you want to play for them. It's always good to be wanted."
In Moultrie, Philadelphia acquired a tall, athletic forward who was
projected at the beginning of the 2011-12 college basketball season to be a lottery pick. Miami got nearly $1 million in salary cap relief in the next two seasons by not having to commit to a first-round rookie salary.
Moultrie became the first MSU player taken in the first round since Erick Dampier and Dontae Jones were selected 10th and 21st in the 1996 draft.
Moultrie led the Southeastern Conference in rebounding (10.5 per game) this season, but he puzzled a lot of player personnel executives by declining the physical workouts at the Chicago pre-draft camp. He then began to slip on teams' draft boards and nearly fell out of the first round after he had been projected to be taken in the middle of the first round.
Twelve picks earlier than Moultrie was selected, Philadelphia chose St. John's University forward Maurice Harkless. The 19-year-old averaged 15.5 points per game as a freshman for the Red Storm.
Philadelphia made the playoffs with a 35-31 record in a lockout-shortened 2011-12 season. It lost to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals.