After being listed as questionable earlier in the day, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid is now out for tonight’s game against the Washington Wizards with a non-COVID illness.
Joel Embiid (non-COVID illness) is out tonight against the Wizards.— Noah Levick (@NoahLevick) October 31, 2022
Tonight is the second game Embiid will miss this season for the 3-4 Sixers. He sat out the first night of a back-to-back Friday night against the Toronto Raptors, due to what the team termed right knee injury recovery, but was what seemed like a good, old-fashioned case of load management. The Sixers ended up winning that contest, 112-90, powered by a career-high 44 points from Tyrese Maxey. Maxey has often picked up the scoring load in the last year and change when Embiid sits, and we’ll look for a boost in usage from the young guard again tonight.
Against Toronto, Doc Rivers opted to play small-ball with P.J. Tucker starting at the five and De’Anthony Melton moving into the starting lineup, an alignment that worked especially well against Toronto’s personnel. We’ll see if Rivers goes with the same arrangement tonight against the Wizards, who start 7-foot-3 Kristaps Porzingis at center (not that Porzingis is by any means a bulky presence on the interior), or if he decides to go with a more traditional Montrezl Harrell-Paul Reed tandem at the center position.
Despite entering the season under-conditioned after dealing with plantar fasciitis over the summer, Embiid is averaging 27.2 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 3.3 assists on the season. His current illness likely isn’t too serious if he was still questionable up until this afternoon. Hopefully, Joel can get some rest and we’ll see him back on the court Wednesday night against these same Wizards back in Philadelphia.