Update, 8:47 p.m.: James Harden and Joel Embiid are now listed as OUT.
With the eyes of the world (well, the greater Philadelphia area, at least) fixed on Lincoln Financial Field this evening, tonight’s contest on the West Coast between the Philadelphia 76ers and Sacramento Kings may be something of an afterthought. It looks like the Sixers themselves might be gearing up to treat the game that way as well. On the team’s latest injury report this afternoon, Joel Embiid has joined James Harden as Questionable, with both players listed for injury recovery/management for their respective foot injuries.
Sixers vs Kings injury report lists Joel Embiid and James Harden as questionable pic.twitter.com/AW3oOVTcMA— Sam DiGiovanni (@BySamDiGiovanni) January 21, 2023
With the Sixers finishing up a five-game road trip out west, giving their two stars off tonight would provide a nice break for them with the team not playing again until Wednesday night in Philadelphia against the Nets. If Joel and James do indeed sit, you have to imagine the Sixers’ chances of making it a perfect 5-0 on the trip drop precipitously. The star duo has been exceptional of late, with Embiid a hair behind Luka Doncic for the league scoring title and Harden leading the league in assists (once he reaches the games played qualifier).
Coincidentally, this potential load management comes in the wake of yesterday’s ruckus on NBA Twitter regarding the Warriors sitting their stars for the game in Cleveland. Hilariously, Golden State still went on to win, 120-114, with the Jordan Poole-Ty Jerome backcourt combining for 54 points.
You certainly feel for fans in these situations who make plans and shell out big bucks in hopes of seeing a star like Steph Curry. And it would be unfortunate if those in the Northern California area who wanted to see Embiid and Harden play in their one trip to the Golden 1 Center this season didn’t have that chance. But that’s the reality of the NBA in 2023. The Sixers are going to do what’s best to get their team healthy to the postseason.