Embiid to miss eighth game in a row Friday in Houston

Dave Uram
March 08, 2019 - 8:43 am

Bill Streicher/ USA TODAY Sports

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The expectation was Joel Embiid’s left knee soreness would only keep him out about a week after the 76ers returned from the All-Star break. At this point, it has been roughly two-and-a-half weeks, with no return date set in stone.

Embiid is going to miss his eighth straight game when the 76ers (41-25) visit the Houston Rockets (39-25) Friday night. Embiid has been dealing with minor injuries throughout the season, including a brief case of the stomach bug. However, prior to the All-Star Game, the center only missed four games. He and the Sixers insist the exhibition had nothing to do with his tendonitis, but many outside the organization still wonder why he would even play in that game if he was experiencing soreness. While Embiid said the self-imposed time off is because the soreness kept getting worse, he contends he felt fine going into the All-Star Game.

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According to ESPN, Embiid went through a pretty good pregame workout before this past Saturday’s loss to the Warriors. He also participated in practice Monday. Record aside, the Sixers are losing valuable time to build chemistry with their new starting five. Embiid hasn’t played since this very popular cover of Sports Illustrated was published. Curse?

READ: PROCESS THIS: Sixers grace the cover of Sports Illustrated

In terms of record, the Sixers are 4-3 without him in their last seven games. They barely beat Miami and Orlando at home, and they’re two teams that are inferior to them in terms of talent. They defeated New Orleans and Oklahoma City on the road, but the Pelicans didn’t play All-Star Anthony Davis in the fourth quarter and the Thunder were missing All-Star Paul George. The losses came against the Blazers, who blew the Sixers out in South Philadelphia, Golden State and the lowly Chicago Bulls.

Houston comes into Friday on a six game winning streak with MVP candidate James Harden scoring 35, 42, 58, 30 and 28 points in the Rockets last five games. Harden scored 37 against the Sixers in January, a game Philadelphia won by 28 with Embiid scoring 32 points with 14 rebounds. Jimmy Butler didn’t play that night due to a wrist issue. Barring anything unforeseen, Butler will play Friday and likely be responsible for Harden.

The Sixers are currently fourth in the Eastern Conference, a half-game behind Indiana for third place and one-and-a-half games up on the fifth place Celtics. The Pacers invade Wells Fargo Center Sunday afternoon. It will certainly be alarming if Embiid doesn’t play Sunday against Indiana, a team they’re trying to catch in the standings.