The Sixers said before the scrimmage that Embiid began feeling tightness in the calf during Friday’s 90-83 victory over Memphis in Philadelphia’s first action inside the NBA’s bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort. He is listed as day-to-day and will be reevaluated Monday.
“Not really,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said when asked if there is any frustration about Embiid missing time with an injury. “It’s the second game.
“If this had happened three to four games into what we are calling the regular season, [yes]. There is always frustration, selfish frustration, and I know frustration, at times, for Joel. But initially, [we’re] just trying to be smart with everything and move on.”
Brown said before Friday’s scrimmage that he hoped to get Embiid 18 to 20 minutes, but instead he finished with just under 13, scoring 10 points on 3-for-10 shooting to go with six rebounds and an assist. He was the only starter to not play in the second half.
When asked whether Embiid could potentially miss any of the seeding games, which for Philadelphia begin Saturday against the Indiana Pacers — with whom they are tied for fifth place in the Eastern Conference — Brown side-stepped the question.
“I believe we’re just getting out in front of stuff, and being smart with it,” he said.
Brown said Al Horford, who has been benched in favor of second-year guard Shake Milton in the restart, would replace Embiid in the starting lineup alongside Milton, Josh Richardson, Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons, and that he looks at Embiid’s absence as a chance to get Horford some extended minutes.
“I feel that it’s an opportunity,” Brown said. “Truly — not coach speak, not political speak, truly — to play Al more, to put him with some different groups.”
Embiid averaged 23.4 points, 11.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.3 blocks per game while playing in 44 of Philadelphia’s 65 games this season prior to it being suspended in March because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.