The 76ers have another back-to-back that starts Monday night against the New York Knicks.
But, they’ll be very shorthanded as their four-time All Star center has been place on health and safety protocols with four other Sixers.
Here’s three storylines:
Embiid enters protocols
The Sixers on Monday learned that Joel Embiid needs to enter the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania first reported the news.
Monday night’s game against the Knicks was a planned rest day for Embiid as it was, but his availability moving forward is now uncertain.
The Sixers could get a starter back in Danny Green, who’s listed as questionable after missing the previous three games with left hamstring tightness. Green put up jumpers after shootaround and appears close to a return.
Embiid became the fourth Sixer in the league’s protocols, joining Tobias Harris, Isaiah Joe, and Matisse Thybulle.
Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said last week Harris was doing “ok, but not great, honestly.” The 29-year-old tweeted, “Every W is healing me” after tuning in for the team’s sixth straight victory on Saturday night, a win over the Bulls in Chicago.
The Sixers have crazily managed to keep winning despite their absences. But losing Embiid is especially difficult in terms of on-court impact. The MVP runner-up, who posted 30 points and 15 rebounds against the Bulls, is massively influential on both sides of the ball.
Without him, Andre Drummond should start and Paul Reed will continue to play key minutes. Other center options include Georges Niang and rookie Charles Bassey.
To clear the NBA’s protocols, a player must either wait a minimum of 10 days or return two consecutive negative PCR COVID-19 tests at least 24 hours apart.
So who is available?
With the Sixers still focusing on securing a win tonight, they will turn to their shortened bench for the answer. Here is the expected injury report assuming no more complications ensue:
Joel Embiid- OUT (protocols)
Tobias Harris- OUT (protocols)
Isaiah Joe- OUT (protocols)
Matisse Thybulle- OUT (protocols)
Ben Simmons- OUT (personal)
Grant Riller- OUT (meniscus tear)
Danny Green- questionable (hamstring)
In positive news, it seems likely that Danny Green will make his return tonight after missing the previous three games. Green was a participant in shoot around this morning and seemed to hint that he would be active based on his instagram post today.
Andre Drummond is likely to get the start at center tonight and the Sixers will likely push the pace more than normal. Expect Tyrese Maxey and Shake Milton to look to create their own shots more than usual and for the perimeter shooters to let it fly. The Sixers’ bench unit has been productive so far this season and continues to make their way into the center stage of the team. Even with all the injuries, the Sixers are only 1.5 point underdogs and the fight they have shown early on is tough to rule them out of any game.
The last matchup
It was just two weeks ago when the Knicks and Sixers matched up for the first time this season.
This was the game where the Sixers were outscored 39-16 in the second quarter and were not able to battle back from the deficit. Poor shooting allowed the game to get away from the Sixers and the Knicks ultimately won by a score of 112-99.
The Sixers will looks to get back in the win column tonight against their Eastern Conference counterpart.
When: 7:00pm ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic