The Philadelphia 76ers will host the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night in a battle of two of the best bigs in the league.
Or... maybe not.
Fans ready to watch the marquee matchup between MVP frontrunners Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic might be left disappointed as Jokic has been listed as questionable on the team’s injury report due to a hip injury. Jokic played 33 minutes in the Nuggets’ win over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday and wasn’t reported to have suffered an injury in that game. Nevertheless, his status for Tuesday is up in the air. Jokic is playing yet another season at an impressive level, averaging an insane 25.5 points, 11.8 rebounds and 9.3 assists per game for the 28-13 Nuggets this campaign. We will keep you posted on his availability as more information becomes available.
He’s far from alone on Denver’s injury report, however. Jamal Murray (leg), Aaron Gordon (heel), Michael Porter (knee) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (back) are all also questionable for Tuesday’s contest. All five (including Jokic) questionable players started Sunday’s contest and each played over 30 minutes. One can imagine that, if his entire supporting cast is out for Tuesday, Jokic may be held out as well to recover the hip injury. We just have to wait and see.
As for the Sixers, head coach Nick Nurse said Monday that he expects Embiid to be ready to go for Tuesday despite the back-to-back schedule. Embiid returned for the Sixers’ MLK Day matinee after a 10-day, three-game hiatus due to knee inflammation. He looked as comfortable as ever, dropping 41 points to lead the Sixers over the Houston Rockets.
In a perfect world where everyone plays, this should be a competitive matchup of two teams looking to continue their successes in the regular season thus far and turn that into long playoff runs. But at this point, there’s just too many variables with the Nuggets injury report to accurately predict how Tuesday’s contest may go. We may get a matchup of the two MVP frontrunners in Embiid and Jokic. We might get a half or even complete hospital lineup for the Nuggets. We might even see Embiid end up resting if the Nuggets do sideline their entire starting lineup. The Sixers have not submitted their injury report at the time of writing, so that’s completely up in the air as well — though Nurse mentioned starting guard De’Anthony Melton will likely miss at least a week with a back issue.
One thing is for sure, and that’s that the Sixers and Nuggets in some form will tip off in South Philadelphia at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Denver Nuggets
When: 7:30 pm EST
Where: The Center, Philadelphia, PA
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic