Updated: Saturday, 12:52 p.m.
Just like last season, the Sixers may be without their centerpiece for the start of the playoffs.
Joel Embiid (load management - left knee soreness) is listed as doubtful for Game 1 of the Sixers' first-round series against the Nets on Saturday (2:30 p.m./NBCSP). Brett Brown on Saturday afternoon said Embiid will be a game-time decision.
The big man missed the first two games of the Sixers' first-round matchup with the Heat last year.
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Embiid told reporters early Friday afternoon that his pain level has worsened in the past couple days. He said he'd ultimately be the one who decides whether he plays in Game 1 vs. Brooklyn. At the time, he said he had "no idea" whether he'd play (see story). The doubtful designation suggests we now have a better idea.
"I think everybody that knows me knows that I want to be on the floor and I always play through pain and injuries and everything," Embiid said, "but if I can't go that means that it's pretty painful. Like I said, I'm still glad there's nothing else going on and for me just some regular pain that I got to work through."
The Sixers' All-Star center missed 14 of the team's final 24 games, including the first eight after the All-Star break and the final two of the regular season. He last played on April 6 in Chicago, posting 20 points and 10 rebounds in close to 28 minutes as the Sixers beat a weak Bulls team.
The Sixers may also be without one of Embiid's backups, Jonah Bolden. The Australian rookie is questionable with left knee soreness. If Bolden doesn't play, the Sixers would likely have to rely more on Boban Marjanovic, while Greg Monroe might also see time. Mike Scott and Ben Simmons are two other possibilities as small-ball centers.
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