Brett Brown: Joel Embiid, ‘Process’ chant is ‘what our program needs’

PHILADELPHIA — Most coaches prefer a quiet crowd when one of their players are shooting free throws, figuring the calm can only help the player’s concentration on converting the unguarded 15-foot shot.

Not Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown, however. When Sixers rookie center Joel Embiid shoots free throws at the Wells Fargo Center, Philly’s hometown fans have developed a custom of chanting “Trust the process!” as the big man readies himself for the freebies. And Brown is all for it.

“I do [like it],” Brown said before the Sixers’ 112-108 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. “I do. You know, I think we need something like that in this city and I’m not frowning upon that. We want to have some fun.”

Of course, the chant has a hint of sarcasm the Philadelphia faithful is known for. Embiid became the face of former 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie’s reign over the team when Philadelphia went 37-199 in three seasons while it stockpiled young assets — like the former No. 3 pick out of Kansas — that it had to wait to see mature into contributors.

With 9:06 remaining in the fourth quarter, Embiid went to the line with the Sixers trailing by one. Sure enough, the “Trust the process!” chants echoed through the arena and Embiid hit both shots to briefly recapture the lead for his team. Embiid shot 3-for-5 from the line overall, below the 77.8 percent mark he came into the game connecting on.

After everything that Philadelphia has been through the past few seasons, Brown sees the chant as nothing but a positive for his slowly improving 4-13 team.

“I think it’s all good,” Brown said. “I’m personally at a stage that you get — and I say this in a positive way — you’re sort of numb to scrutiny. You’re numb to taking the massive amounts of hits that we’re all — and I say it personally, with the team — you feel hardened. You just got another layer of armor. And so the fans standing, the fans on us, the fans with us — I see our world clearly and we’re not blinking.

“We’re not going to veer to the right or the left. And when the crowd gets going with ‘the process’ and Joel anoints himself ‘Trust the process,’ there’s a side of it, I say, ‘Good for the crowd, good for Joel,’ and none of us are going to take ourselves too serious.”

Helping things is Embiid’s stellar rookie season that featured another fine output Sunday with 22 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three blocks. The momentum behind his rookie of the year campaign only continues to build after he missed the past two seasons with multiple foot surgeries.

“How many times do you see over our past few years where somebody is going to go stalk somebody down, like LeBron [James], in open court at 7-2, at 275 pounds and bat it off of the board and then look at the crowd … and want Philadelphia to stand up, and Philadelphia stands up?” Brown said, recalling a block Embiid had on James the last time the Sixers hosted the Cavs. “And he’ll pound, pound [with his dribble and then] dunk. And he’ll flex and he’ll go to the line and Philadelphia stands up.

“And there is a confidence that I love because it’s also mirrored by talent. There’s a toughness that this city demands — it’s Philadelphia — that I just think this city is going to wrap their arms around him the more he plays. He’s still like a gangling 20-something-year-old to me … And that doesn’t cloud his mojo, his swagger, his attitude and I love it. I love it. It’s what our program needs.”

Bruins’ Zdeno Chara out vs. Senators, doubtful for Flames

BOSTON — Just when the Bruins were playing some of their best defense of the season, they lose their No. 1 defenseman to an injury.

Captain Zdeno Chara left with an unspecified injury after taking one shift in the second period during the Bruins’ 4-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.

He did not join the Bruins on Wednesday for their flight to Ottawa to face the Senators on Thursday, and Claude Julien said the 2009 Norris Trophy winner was doubtful for Calgary on Friday.

Chara has one goal and five assists in 19 games this season. His team-high 22:41 of ice time per game will also be difficult to replace.

“We just lost our best defender and teams hate playing against him, and that’s the kind of impact he’s got,” Julien said. “Now there’s no individual that’s going to step up and do his job more than we’re going to have to do it as a group.”

The Bruins received some positive news Wednesday, as defenseman Kevan Miller, who has missed the start of the season after fracturing his left hand, and forward David Pastrnak, who leads the Bruins with 10 goals, were cleared to play against Ottawa. Pastrnak had missed three games with an undisclosed injury.

Both Miller and Pastrnak practiced on Wednesday.

The Bruins have won four of their past six and eight of their past 12 games. Prior to their loss to the Blues, the Bruins had allowed two or fewer goals in five straight games, including four wins.

Having Chara out of the lineup will put the onus not just on the defensemen, but the rest of the team to keep the opposition off the scoreboard.

“I think everybody together as a group has really come together and embraced our identity and the style of play that we want to emphasize and I think that’s one of the reasons we’ve had success,” defenseman John-Michael Liles said.

“Losing ‘Z’ is a big loss, but I think if we continue to play the style that we’ve really focused on the last little while, I think we can continue to have success.”

When the Bruins were without Chara because of a torn knee ligament during the 2014-15 season, they went 11-7-1.

This time they will rely upon veterans such as Liles, Torey Krug and Adam McQuaid. Nineteen-year-old Brandon Carlo has thrived as Chara’s regular defense partner this season, and the rookie will have to figure out how to play without the captain.

Carlo has two goals and two assists in 19 games and has averaged just 20 fewer seconds per game than Chara.

“He’s a pretty good player anyway, and he can still play in this league without Zdeno,” Julien said.

“When you’re missing your No. 1 defenseman, when you’re playing with him, there’s no doubt it affects you. But he’s still a good enough player to overcome that.”

Niners’ Eric Reid needs season-ending surgery for torn biceps

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — On Sunday night, the San Francisco 49ers feared that safety Eric Reid had suffered a torn biceps late in the team’s loss to the New England Patriots.

On Monday, those fears were confirmed. Reid did indeed suffer a torn biceps in his right arm, an injury that will require season-ending surgery with six games to go in the season.

Reid acknowledged the injury on Twitter, joking that he didn’t know whether he was more upset about not getting to play with his teammates anymore this season or not being able to curl in the weight room. He then said he was “down but not out.”

Reid departed the team’s locker room Sunday night with his right arm in a sling. He had an MRI revealing the injury on Monday afternoon.

Reid tied for the team lead with seven tackles in Sunday’s 30-17 loss to the Patriots; he injured his arm on one of the game’s final plays.

For the season, Reid had 62 tackles, 1 forced fumble and 1 interception. He has also joined quarterback Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem before every game as a protest of racial inequality and oppression in the United States.

Early Monday afternoon, Niners coach Chip Kelly didn’t yet have an update on Reid’s status, but the team later confirmed the injury. Kelly did say second-year safety Jaquiski Tartt would likely be next up to replace Reid.

The timetable for Reid’s return isn’t yet known. He has one year remaining on his contract after the 49ers opted to use the fifth-year option on the former No. 18 pick in the 2013 NFL draft earlier this year.

Reid is the Niners’ fourth defensive starter to suffer a season-ending injury, joining linebackers NaVorro Bowman and Ray-Ray Armstrong and defensive tackle Arik Armstead. Additionally, nose tackle Ian Williams suffered an ankle injury before training camp that ended his season before it began.

Lightning’s Steven Stamkos has lateral meniscus tear

The Tampa Bay Lightning say captain Steven Stamkos is out indefinitely due to a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee, suffered Tuesday night against the Detroit Red Wings.

“We are in the process of evaluating options for repair and rehabilitation and will release more information as it becomes available,” Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said Wednesday in a statement.

Stamkos left the team’s current road trip to return to Tampa to have the injured right leg examined Wednesday.

He left the ice in the first period Tuesday, favoring his right leg after getting tangled up with Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist along the boards.

According to reports from the Tampa Bay Times, Stamkos clutched the back of his right knee after the collision and stumbled as he made his way toward the Lightning locker room. He did not return and there was little in the way of updates from coach Jon Cooper after the Lightning’s 4-3 victory.

Stamkos was off to a tremendous start to the season. His first-period goal Tuesday gave him nine on the season, and his 20 points are tied for third among all NHL players.

Stamkos missed all but one of Tampa Bay’s postseason games last spring with a blood clot issue. But after signing an eight-year contract extension that pays him $8.5 million annually to remain with the Lightning, Stamkos returned in full health and played for Canada at the World Cup of Hockey.

Stamkos has collected points in seven of the past nine Lightning games, and Tampa Bay is tied for second in the Atlantic Division with Ottawa with a 10-6-1 record.

Rockets’ Beverley expected back next week after undergoing left knee surgery

HOUSTON — Rockets starting guard Patrick Beverley said he practiced Friday and expects to return this coming week from left knee surgery.

Beverley didn’t say which game would be his season debut in, but he proclaimed he’s completely healthy. The Rockets’ first game this coming week is Monday against the Philadelphia 76ers.

“I feel very good, excited, can’t wait to play,” Beverley said Saturday. “I can’t wait to play with my teammates. I missed them a lot. I missed being on the road and team camaraderie a lot. I missed playing basketball and missed competing.”

Beverley said he won’t be limited in his return and has done some physical contact during his workouts and his lone practice. In his absence, the Rockets started Eric Gordon and Corey Brewer at guard alongside James Harden. In the last two games, coach Mike D’Antoni placed Brewer in the starting lineup and moved Gordon to the bench. D’Antoni’s reasoning was that Gordon gives the second unit more scoring power when he’s paired with Tyler Ennis in the backcourt.

Beverley has better chemistry with Harden, who has moved into the point guard role full time.

“I’ve been working out with three trainers here when the guys have been on the road, and I practiced (Friday) and competed at a high level,” Beverley said. “I did one-on-one and a lot of contact stuff. I’m ready. I’m excited to get back out there and compete.”

Rangers get Steven Kampfer from Panthers for Dylan McIlrath

NEW YORK — The New York Rangers acquired defenseman Steven Kampfer and a conditional draft pick from the Florida Panthers in exchange for defenseman Dylan McIlrath, the teams announced Tuesday.

Kampfer, 28, has 134 games of NHL experience and will add depth to the Rangers’ defensive core. He played 47 games for the Panthers last season but only one this season.

McIlrath, 24, played 38 games for the Rangers over parts of four seasons. He scored two goals and added two assists for four points. He has had 84 penalty minutes.

The 6-foot-5, 236-pounder was originally selected by the Rangers in the first round (10th overall) in the 2010 NHL entry draft.

“He’s a great kid. He’s a guy that deserves a chance to play in the league,” Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton said of McIlrath. “[Florida] has been calling me for a while about him and it’s a fresh start for him. At the same time, we’ve had Kampfer before and we like his speed, we like his skill level and we think he’s someone who can help us along the way here.”

Kampfer will report to the Rangers’ AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack. It hasn’t been announced yet whether McIlrath will report to the Panthers or the AHL.

Ezekiel Elliott, Jerry Jones not worried about new allegations

CLEVELAND — With another allegation involving a former girlfriend coming to light over the weekend, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott and owner/general manager Jerry Jones said they were not concerned these issues keep coming up.

Elliott simply said “no” when asked if he was concerned following the Cowboys’ 35-10 win against the Cleveland Browns, in which he rushed for 92 yards and two touchdowns.

On Sunday, Jones reiterated that he is not worried about Elliott possibly being suspended at some point this season.

“Everything, everything that I know regarding any of Zeke’s behavior makes me satisfied that we don’t have any issues,” Jones said. “And I know about all of those things. I know everything, yes, there’s been nothing, nothing that I didn’t know about that anybody has brought up. I’m very comfortable that I’ve got Zeke’s full story. I’m real comfortable. And we haven’t been worried about that since training camp.”

According to USA Today, which cited an incident report, police in Aventura, Florida, were called to Elliott’s apartment to investigate an altercation with a woman in February.

The alleged incident involved the same woman who made a domestic abuse claim against Elliott in July. The NFL’s investigation is ongoing; however, prosecutors in Ohio declined to press charges over the summer in a domestic violence case, citing conflicting and inconsistent evidence.

In the February incident, the accuser alleged that Elliott, who was training in Florida, had pushed her against a wall, which resulted in left shoulder pain, according to the report. There were no physical signs of injury and no independent witnesses.

Joe Maddon Authentic Jersey

CLEVELAND — Looks like Cubs manager Joe Maddon is so happy to get slugger Kyle Schwarber back in his lineup that he wants to see him as much as possible. Maddon will hit Schwarber second in the Cubs’ lineup for Tuesday’s Game 6 of the World Series at Cleveland.

Schwarber’s return will push Kris Bryant to third in the order. Anthony Rizzo will bat cleanup, followed by Ben Zobrist. Dexter Fowler remains in the leadoff spot.

“If we hit him in the 5-hole today after what he did a couple days ago they’re not going to pitch to him whatsoever,” Maddon said.

Addison Russell bats sixth, followed by rookie catcher Willson Contreras, who gets the start over Miguel Montero and David Ross. He’ll form a battery with righty starter Jake Arrieta, who beat the Indians in Cleveland in Game 2.

Jason Heyward, who has three hits in his past two games after being benched earlier in the Series, starts in right and bats eighth. Javier Baez rounds out the lineup. He was the MVP of the National League Championship Series but has struggled at the plate in the World Series.

“We kind of have a team that resembles an American League team. We’re big,” Maddon said. “We have a lot of big guys.”

One big pitcher will also be available Tuesday night. After throwing 42 pitches to get an eight-out save on Sunday, Aroldis Chapman could get six outs if needed Tuesday.

Schwarber’s dramatic return from an early-season knee injury that limited him to two regular-season games caused a sensation as the World Series dawned. After being cleared by his doctors to hit, Schwarber was sent to the Arizona Fall League, where he played three games. He was then whisked by private plane to Cleveland and added to the Cubs’ World Series roster.

Batting fifth, Schwarber proved his worth while serving as Chicago’s designated hitter for Games 1 and 2, going 3-for-7 with a double, two walks and two RBIs as the Cubs earned a split. Schwarber has 10 RBIs in 12 career postseason games.

When the Series shifted to Wrigley Field, Schwarber was not cleared by doctors to play in the field, limiting him to pinch-hitting duties. He batted just once in the three games, two of which the Cubs lost. He was retired on a popup in Game 3, dropping him to 0-for-10 in his career as a pinch hitter.

While Schwarber may not look like a prototypical No. 2 hitter, neither does Bryant, the MVP candidate who has started in that slot for most of the second half of the season. Schwarber owns a career .353 on-base percentage, not including the postseason.

The Indians are also benefiting from the move to AL rules, putting Carlos Santana back at the top of the lineup and moving him back to DH.

Santana played two games in left field and one at first in Chicago.

Manager Terry Francona also put Game 3 hero Coco Crisp in left field and moved Tyler Naquin to center, bumping Rajai Davis out of the lineup. Crisp’s pinch-hit RBI provided the only run in Cleveland’s 1-0 win in Game 3. His only start of the Series came in Game 2 against Arrieta.

Cleveland right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall will bat sixth after dealing with some stomach discomfort before Game 5 on Sunday in Chicago.

The Indians lead the Series 3-2 in their effort to win the franchise’s third World Series and first since 1948. The Cubs are trying to become the sixth team to rally from a 3-1 World Series deficit in the best-of-seven format. If they can, it will be the Cubs’ first championship since 1908 and snap the longest title drought in sports.