Joel Embiid listed as doubtful for Sixers-Nets Game 4

Joel Embiid listed as doubtful for Sixers-Nets Game 4

Joel Embiid is listed as doubtful with left knee soreness on the NBA’s official injury report for Game 4 of the Sixers’ first-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets.

He missed Game 3 in Brooklyn, a 131-115 Sixers’ win. About an hour before tip-off, Embiid discussed his knee pain, which he described as "tendinitis," saying he feels he’s getting better “slowly but surely" (see story). 

That said, it sounds like Embiid’s progress is non-linear and difficult for him to predict.

“At the end of the day, what cures it is just loading,” he said. “You gotta load in the right way. Can’t do too much and then also can’t sit out and do nothing. It’s hard to manage, but gotta do it. Gotta push through the pain and see where it goes.”

Embiid began practice Friday by firing a few three-pointers in his slippers.

He then laced up his sneakers and went through an individualized workout.

Brown said early Friday afternoon that his holistic “gut feel” Thursday was that Embiid would not play. He said he didn’t yet have a sense for Embiid’s Game 4 availability. 

Though the Sixers’ athlete care team is closely monitoring Embiid’s “loading,” all the factors behind the decision of whether he plays remain nebulous. Brett Brown has characterized that choice as being dictated both by how Embiid feels and the recommendation of the medical staff.

The center tandem of Greg Monroe and Boban Marjanovic combined for 23 points and 21 rebounds Thursday night. Marjanovic has been impressive in this series and quite possibly the Sixers’ most consistent player (see story). 

While he’s officially doubtful, it’s still very possible Embiid plays in Game 4. He went from being doubtful for Game 1 to playing and posting 22 points and 15 rebounds in the Sixers’ 111-102 loss.

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Joel Embiid (left knee soreness) questionable for Game 2 of Sixers' playoff series against Nets

Joel Embiid (left knee soreness) questionable for Game 2 of Sixers' playoff series against Nets

The questions about Joel Embiid's left knee aren't going away. 

The Sixers' center is is listed as questionable with left knee soreness for Game 2 of the Sixers' first-round playoff series against the Nets on the NBA's official injury report. After being doubtful for Game 1, Embiid played through pain and posted 22 points on 5 for 15 shooting, 15 rebounds, five blocks and four assists. He admitted he was hampered by both the knee pain and by being "out of shape." Embiid's last game prior to Game 1 was on April 6 against the Bulls.

Jonah Bolden, who played five minutes Saturday, is probable for Game 2 with left knee soreness. Though Boban Marjanovic was effective in Game 1, scoring 13 points on 5 for 7 shooting in his 15 minutes, Bolden is a different, more agile backup center option for Brett Brown.

James Ennis has been upgraded from out to doubtful. He's been sidelined since aggravating a right quad contusion on April 3 in Atlanta. Without Ennis, Brown used Jonathon Simmons as his primary wing off the bench Saturday.

There are two notable inclusions on the injury report for the Nets as well in Jared Dudley and Ed Davis. Dudley is questionable with right calf tightness, while Davis is questionable with a right ankle sprain. If Davis doesn't play, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, a native of Chester, Pennsylvania, would likely enter the Nets' rotation. Hollis-Jefferson had 19 points in 26 minutes against the Sixers on March 28 and took advantage of the matchup vs. Marjanovic offensively.

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Joel Embiid (left knee soreness) listed as doubtful for Game 1 of Sixers' playoff series vs. Nets

Joel Embiid (left knee soreness) listed as doubtful for Game 1 of Sixers' playoff series vs. Nets

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.

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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