76ers C Embiid to sit out next 3 games with knee injury
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Maybe ''The Absence'' would be a better nickname for Joel Embiid.
Embiid, the oft-injured Philadelphia 76ers center, was ruled out for their game Monday against Sacramento because of a left knee contusion. He also will not travel with the Sixers for road games later this week against Dallas and San Antonio. The Sixers officially listed Embiid as doubtful for those two games.
The Sixers did not determine Embiid's status for Saturday's game at Miami.
''There's no red flags here,'' coach Brett Brown said. ''It's just us going overboard, making sure we're doing the right thing with what all learning is a very important person in our program.''
With his social media savvy and dominant offensive game, Embiid has become an instant fan favorite in the NBA. He sat out two seasons recovering from a broken foot and the Sixers have slapped him with minutes restrictions in his rookie season, even when healthy. The Sixers also hold Embiid out for at least one game in back-to-back sets and his limited playing time was one reason he was not a strong enough candidate to make the All-Star team.
He helped the Sixers win eight of 10 games in one stretch in January, a stunning run for a team that won 10 games last season.
Embiid, who was hurt Jan. 13 against Charlotte, had 32 points and seven rebounds last Friday against Houston. But the 7-foot rookie center sat out Sunday's loss at Chicago.
''There isn't anything odd going on,'' Brown said. ''We feel like it's best for him to get him where he needs to be and keep him behind.''
Brown said Embiid was not hurt again playing against the Rockets and said the Sixers were not pressured to return him to the lineup for a rare nationally televised game and a packed house. He sat out three games before Houston, and his returned fueled speculation the Sixers wanted to showcase their franchise player on ESPN.
''It did not influence our desire to cram him back into a game,'' Brown said. ''We were playing well, he felt well, the whole stable of doctors that we have around him gave him a thumbs up.''
Embiid averaged 20.2 points and 7.8 rebounds while playing in 31 of Philadelphia's first 46 games.
He had adopted ''The Process'' as a nickname and is introduced as such as part of the pregame lineup festivities. Embiid waves his arms and exhorts fans to get louder as they chant ''Trust the Process!''
Brown said he still wanted Embiid to play in the Rising Stars game during All-Star weekend.
''I think it's an opportunity that if he's able to do it, which we believe he'll able to do it, he should take advantage of it,'' Brown said.
Jahlil Okafor, one of the early busts of the 2015 draft, started for Embiid.
The Sixers have been cautious the last few seasons about rushing back injured players. Andrew Bynum, Embiid and Nerlens Noel have all sat out at least one full season since 2012. Ben Simmons, the No. 1 overall pick of the `16 draft, has yet to play this season because of a broken right foot.
''We do tilt at this early stage on being paranoid about keeping our better players healthy,'' Brown said.