Robert Covington

Joel Embiid, Robert Covington, T.J. McConnell questionable

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Joel Embiid, Robert Covington, T.J. McConnell questionable

Updated: 2:10 p.m.

The Sixers might get some reinforcements back to help try to halt their losing streak.

Joel Embiid, Robert Covington and T.J. McConnell are listed as questionable tonight in Minnesota (9:30 p.m./NBCSP+).

Embiid (back tightness) sat out Saturday night’s loss because of load management and then was a last-minute scratch against the Pelicans Sunday. Covington (lower back contusion), who was injured diving into the stands for a loose ball against the Cavs Saturday, also missed Sunday night’s loss. McConnell suffered a sprained AC joint in the Sixers’ win over the Wizards back on Nov. 29. He came back and played 18 minutes in the team’s loss to the Lakers, but then missed the first two games of the road trip in Cleveland and New Orleans.

Embiid’s injury is not believed to be serious. The big man himself didn’t seem too concerned.

“If it was the Finals, I'm sure I could have gone,” Embiid said Sunday. “But we've got 82 games and they don't want me to push if I'm not a hundred percent, so that's what I did.”

The Sixers will look to snap a four-game losing streak — their longest of the season — against the reloaded Timberwolves (16-11). 

Is this the start of injuries portion of Sixers' season?

Is this the start of injuries portion of Sixers' season?

No Joel Embiid? No Robert Covington? No T.J. McConnell? No problem last night for the Philadelphia 76ers. Well, maybe one problem, and that's that they didn't have enough healthy good players to compete with an essentially full-strength New Orleans Pelicans squad for 48 minutes, losing 131-124 (JRUUUUUUEEEEE). That was kind of a problem. 

We all knew we'd get here at some point this season -- the stretch of games where various key Sixers are suffering from various prohibitive maladies, as Brett Brown is forced to juggle his starting lineup and overall rotation every night and we're waiting with baited breath before each tip-off to see who'll be showing up. It's pretty much unavoidable for most teams, and all but guaranteed for the post-Process Sixers. It's just a question of when it comes and how long it lasts. 

Over the weekend, I made the rookie mistake of mentioning how despite the Sixers suffering two embarrassing home defeats, making a trade I find personally insulting and giving us another "Oh yeah, Markelle's doing great -- you can't see it, and you won't for another three weeks, but just trust us, he's all good" Fultz update, everything still was OK because Embiid was still healthy and as long as he's healthy who even cares about whether the sun rises or not? Wouldn't you know it, the next day he's a gametime scratch with back soreness. He says he could've played if it was the finals (though not the other playoff rounds, I guess?) and expects to play in Minnesota on Tuesday, but a one-game flare-up has not traditionally lasted just one game for JoJo, so we'll see about that one tomorrow. 

Maybe it's some kind of back virus that Robert Covington caught diving into the stands in Cleveland on Saturday. Scans were negative on Cov after the game, but according to Derek Bodner, he's still considered doubtful for Tuesday's game in Minnesota. And while T.J. McConnell hoped to be back as early as Thursday's game against the Lakers, his lingering absence with a shoulder injury is definitely becoming something of a concern for the Sixers, especially with Stauskas gone, Fultz still out, and Jerryd Bayless showing Mariah Carey-like target accuracy on his jumper the last couple games. 

In the meantime, the Sixers have dropped four in a row and fell to .500 in the standings -- out of the playoff picture in the East, even. This is hardly tragic, especially since the Sixers have had one of the hardest schedules in the league so far, and should have plenty of time to make ground back up in the top-heavy East once they get healthy and come together. But as we all know from experience, that last part is easier said than done, and once injury season really hits, it gets to be a lot of one step forward, two sprained ankles backward. Pray we don't get to Christmas and have to trot out a Bayless-Redick-TLC-Booker-Johnson lineup on national TV.

Robert Covington (lower back contusion) vs. Pelicans

Robert Covington (lower back contusion) vs. Pelicans

UPDATED: 7 p.m.

NEW ORLEANS — Robert Covington will miss the Sixers' game Sunday night against the Pelicans in New Orleans because of a lower back contusion he suffered during a fall Saturday late against the Cavaliers.

X-rays and a CT scan came back negative. Covington is with the team in New Orleans and is doubtful for Tuesday's game in Minnesota.

Covington tumbled out of bounds and over courtside seats while he tried to save a possession during a Sixers comeback attempt. There is an approximate four-to-five inch drop between the court and the area where Covington landed. Many of his teammates were unaware of Covington's injury at first because it was out of their vision.

“It’s scary to see your teammate like that,” guard JJ Redick said. “They said he fell on his back. I wanted to make sure he’s walking and not in too much pain. But I just wish the best for him and hope he’s OK.”

The Sixers will have to replace Covington in the starting lineup.

Joel Embiid, who was expected to play after sitting out Saturday because of his back-to-back restriction, was scratched right before the game because of back tightness.