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Joel Embiid’s Starting Minutes Restriction Could Be in the Teens

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Lower than some expected, but not surprising.

NBA: Preseason-Memphis Grizzlies at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

After sitting out practice yesterday and participating today - as Brett Brown predicted - Joel Embiid is set to play in Wednesday’s season opener against the Wizards. With a new contract extension and “he was healthy all along” narrative brewing under the surface, this isn’t shocking. We were just unsure of how much he’d play. Brown told reporters after practice that he expects Embiid’s minutes restriction to possibly be in the teens.

Brown stressed that Embiid’s minutes could be in flux due to rotations and the coach’s new inventory of fewer timeouts. That, in addition to Richaun Holmes’ injury and Jahlil Okafor missing practice today due to gastrointestinal issues (that new diet doesn’t make him immune to the NBA runs, it seems) could force Brown to play Embiid more, while also givng more on-court time to Amir Johnson and Dario Saric as a small-ball 5.

We’ve still yet to see Ben Simmons, Embiid, and Markelle Fultz all share the floor, and Embiid’s restriction plus Fultz’s status as a bench player (at least to start) might keep that sight a rare one in the beginning. The Sixers have a day off between Wednesday’s opener and Friday’s first home game, but Saturday’s game in Toronto on the second night of a back-to-back should give us a good idea of how Embiid will be handled early in the season.