Updated, 7p.m.: Joel Embiid is AVAILABLE.
Second in the NBA in scoring at 33.2 points per game, Joel Embiid has been putting the Philadelphia 76ers on his back for much of the season. So it wouldn’t be surprising if it happened to be a little sore.
In the Sixers’ morning injury report for tonight’s 7:00pm ET game against the New Orleans Pelicans, Embiid is listed as questionable with lower back soreness.
Presumably, if he does end up sitting out, Embiid’s absence would be more a case of load management than a more serious issue with his back. James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and P.J. Tucker were all given Saturday’s game in Oklahoma City off, while Embiid played both ends of the back-to-back over the weekend. None of Harden, Maxey, or Tucker are listed on the injury report for tonight.
Embiid played every game during the month of December and has not sat out since missing four straight games with a foot sprain in late November. Getting him an off day here to keep him fresh is just something you have to do now and again during the course of a long regular season. Hopefully, if he does sit, having everyone else available will allow the Sixers to remain competitive at home against the 23-13 Pelicans. Embiid’s 37 points were not enough in Philadelphia’s 127-116 loss in New Orleans on Friday, not to mention Zion Williamson went absolutely bonkers whenever Joel was not on the court as a last line of defense.
Joel Embiid finishes the night off with 37 points and hits his over as well.— Jared Block (@jaredrblock) December 31, 2022
Over 31.5 Points ✅ pic.twitter.com/jROwKpm5DY
The Sixers enter the new year in fifth place in the Eastern Conference at 21-14. We’ll find out closer to gametime tonight if Embiid is indeed going to start out 2023 cheering from the pine.