The Sixers have had a terrific start to the new season overall, but their eight-game win streak finally came to an end with their two losses in this week’s back-to-back against Indiana and Boston.
On Friday, the Sixers will be looking to bounce back in another In-Season Tournament game against the Hawks, and could remain shorthanded.
Along with Kelly Oubre Jr.’s absence, Joel Embiid is listed as questionable due to left hip soreness, while unfortunately Nicolas Batum remains out for personal reasons.
After the Sixers lost 117-107 to the Celtics on Wednesday, Nick Nurse was asked about how Embiid is doing with his hip.
“He hasn’t said anything to me about it,” Nurse said. “I think it’s still pretty early in the year and he’s playing some pretty good minutes. Again, that’s three games in four nights where we’ve had to battle pretty hard.”
Like Nurse said, the Sixers have been through a busy stretch of games — featuring some tough opponents with their latest back-to-back. Embiid likes to power through when he can, though, and he often plays when listed as questionable.
“It’s fine,” Embiid said when talking about his hip after the loss to Boston, as he tallied 20 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. “I’d say especially defensively, I haven’t been moving as well as I was the first few games. Like I said, no excuses. Just keep playing”
If Embiid can feel a difference in his movement on defense, an extra day of rest following this stretch probably wouldn’t be a bad idea.
When speaking to reporters pre game against the Celtics, Nurse also commented on Batum’s aim to return by Sunday, when the Sixers play the Nets in Brooklyn.
“Yeah, I just talked to Batum a couple of hours ago,” Nurse said. “He told me that he would be in Brooklyn. He said, ‘I might make it for the Atlanta game, but I’ll be in Brooklyn for sure.’ So we’ll see how that goes. We should have more detail by tomorrow.”
We’ll know more over the next day about how Batum is doing, and whether or not Embiid and the team opt to get the big fella some rest.