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Joel Embiid (rest) out vs. Blazers Monday

This is a scheduled rest for the All-Star center, as the Sixers are in the midst of six games in nine days.

Atlanta Hawks v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

The Sixers will be without the services of Joel Embiid Monday night against Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers.

The All-Star center’s absence is for planned rest and not related to the right knee soreness he’d been experiencing since opening night. Embiid was not on the injury report ahead of Saturday night’s win over the Hawks.

The timing for the rest has to do with the Sixers’ upcoming schedule, per The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey. The team is about to play six games in nine days, including a pair of back-to-backs.

Embiid also reportedly received an MRI, which revealed no issues with his knee.

While this certainly takes juice away from a game that will feature the No. 1 player on every Sixers fans’ — and Daryl Morey’s — trade wishlist, it feels appropriate. Choosing this game allows Embiid to have three days off in a row. Any of the other upcoming games would only afford him two days off at most.

Look for Andre Drummond to get the starting nod. What happens beyond Drummond will be the more interesting storyline. Will Doc Rivers use a lineup featuring Georges Niang as a small-ball five? Will he give Paul Reed an extended look as a backup five? It’s worth noting that Bball Paul was solid when Drummond was out in the win over the Thunder.