Updated at 5:27 p.m.
CAMDEN, N.J. — Will Joel Embiid play against the Raptors or won't he? That decision will not be made until closer to tip-off for tonight's game against the Raptors.
Embiid is probable for the Sixers' home matchup against the streak, 21-8 Raptors because of back tightness. An official decision on his status will be made after he goes through a pregame warmup. He partially went through shootaround Thursday morning and was on the court putting up shots during media availability. Embiid was initially listed as questionable before being upgraded to probable at approximately 5:20 p.m.
Another look at Embiid with a jumper. pic.twitter.com/UxglrkzFTk— Jessica Camerato (@JCameratoNBCS) December 21, 2017
Embiid's teammates said he looked good in shootaround, but they are prepared to wait for him to return if he isn't in full game shape.
"Of course we need him — he's our best player," Dario Saric said. "Of course he can help us a lot for tonight's game, but I think it's important for the team, for the organization to [not] press him to go earlier, to wait for him to be a hundred percent ready."
Robert Covington has dealt with back tightness himself. He suffered a back contusion against the Cavaliers on Nov. 9, missed the next two games, and said he's still experiencing some stiffness.
"It's probable," Covington said of Embiid playing. "You never know how it feels. Right now he felt good this morning, but it has to be continued. You don't want to rush that type of thing. He said he felt good, but it's got to be a continuous thing."
Embiid going through shooting drills with Covington and Anderson. pic.twitter.com/DLhB2lVBiP— Jessica Camerato (@JCameratoNBCS) December 21, 2017
The Sixers do know they will be without JJ Redick. The starting shooting guard will miss Thursday's game because of right hamstring tightness, which caused him to exit early Tuesday night. Redick is doubtful for Saturday's matchup in Toronto. He was putting up shots after shootaround.
Trevor Booker did not go through shootaround because of gastroenteritis and was listed as questionable, but he will play.
The Raptors come into Philadelphia on a four-game winning streak and winners of nine of 10. The Sixers face challenging obstacles against them if Embiid cannot play.