ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - When Philadelphia 76ers point guard Michael Carter-Williams was in Orlando last year for NBA summer league, he spent most of his week shaking off questions about his less-than-impressive performance.
He returned to Florida on Wednesday, but only as a spectator as the league's reigning Rookie of the Year continues to rehab from offseason shoulder surgery.
He kept mostly a low profile, but did sit on the Sixers bench to cheer on teammates that included Nerlens Noel, who sat out last season recovering from a torn ACL.
''It's been tough,'' Carter Williams said of being away from the court this offseason. ''Of course I wish I could be out there playing and doing what I love, but I know it's a process and it's best for me to chill out a little bit and get healthy.''
The good news, he said, is that doctors tell him he's ''ahead of schedule'' with his rehabilitation. He just doesn't know when that schedule will allow him to be on the court playing at full speed.
He is rehabbing three times a week, as well as on his own. He said he will also be with the Sixers' summer league team in Las Vegas beginning on Friday, but he will only participate in workouts, as he's not yet allowed to do anything strenuous.
''I definitely can't scrimmage. I can't do full contact,'' Carter-Williams said. ''As far as other drills, I'm not sure. I have to check with the trainers and doctors.''
The 11th overall pick in last year's draft, he was the first player picked 10th or lower to win Rookie of the Year since Mark Jackson did it for New York in 1987.
Carter-Williams shook off his lackluster summer league performance last year to become only the third player since 1950-51 to lead all rookies in scoring average (16.7), rebounding (6.3) and assists (6.2), joining Oscar Robertson (1960-61) and Alvan Adams (1975-76). Allen Iverson is the only other player in Sixers history to win the rookie award.
Despite all of that, Carter-Williams found himself the subject of some trade talk this offseason, particularly when the Sixers initially drafted point guard Elfrid Payton with the No. 10 pick. They later traded that pick to Orlando.
Carter-Williams said he's been able to block all the speculation out, though, because of his faith in Sixers team president and general manager Sam Hinkie, as well as coach Brett Brown.
''I've been with Sam and Coach this whole time,'' Carter-Williams said. ''Regardless of the rumors or who said what, we stayed in communication and we're always on the same page.''
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