CAMDEN, N.J. -- Joel Embiid will not be with the Sixers when they play the Pacers on Wednesday in Indiana. The team made the decision based on their schedule and Embiid’s workload, and said it was not injury-related. Embiid will remain in Philadelphia to go through individualized training with members of the staff on gameday.
“In this particular case, it's the volume of games that have gone on and are coming up,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said after practice Tuesday in Camden. “So you're given the roadmap of he's not going to be going with you to Indiana.”
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The Sixers have 17 games in November including four back-to-backs, a month Brown called “ruthless.” They Sixers will play five games over eight days, counting Monday’s 109-84 loss to the visiting Jazz.
Last week, Embiid was ruled out of the second game on back-to-back nights. He did not travel when the Sixers played the Hornets and dropped a 109-93 decision in Charlotte one night after falling 103-101 to the Magic in Philadelphia . Brown said the prospect of Embiid missing games on non-consecutive nights had been on the table. The team is carefully monitoring their big man after he missed two years with foot injuries.
“I was aware that it was a possibility,” Brown said. “I think that it's easiest for all of us to say, go right to back to backs. It's so much more of that. It's really the volume of games in a condensed period of time.”
Embiid was told of the Sixers’ decision on Monday. He scored 14 points and added nine boards in 19:12 of action against the Jazz and is under a 24-minute restriction until at least Christmas. Embiid went through the entire Sixers practice on Tuesday.
“That kind of caught me off guard,” Embiid said, later noting, “It's frustrating, but they care about me. I think it's going to help me a lot down the road. Whatever how many years I'm going to play - 15, 20 years - it's really going to help me down the road. They care about me. It's frustrating, I want to play, but it is what it is.”
Embiid leads the Sixers with 17.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in 21.4 minutes per game. He leads the NBA in three-point shooting percentage (see story) (66.7 percent) in his first five contests.
Brown said while Embiid understands why he is not going to play Wednesday, he still wanted to travel to be with the team. Embiid plans to spend time at the Sixers training complex during the day and watch the game at night.
“I've been feeling good,” Embiid said. “My body feels great and the foot feels great. I'm getting back to game shape. Everything is coming along. I think it's more about recovery, the rest that I've got to get. That's why they made that decision.”
Because of Embiid's absence, there is a possibility forward Dario Saric and Ersan Ilyasova could see some time at center in addition to Jahlil Okafor and Richaun Holmes.