76ers' Embiid can't play but can dance
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid isn't healthy enough for the basketball court, but his dance moves look just fine.
A leading candidate for Rookie of the Year, Embiid missed his ninth straight game Saturday due to a bruised left knee. His absence against the Miami Heat came one night after cellphone video captured the 76ers center dancing on stage at a Meek Mill concert in Philadelphia.
The video caused a mini firestorm in Philadelphia on Saturday.
Speaking to reporters at Saturday morning's shootaround at the team's practice facility in Camden, New Jersey, the 22-year-old rookie said his dancing was all about having fun.
''Meek invited me to the stage,'' Embiid said. ''I had fun. That's what I'm about, just enjoying life.''
Philadelphia coach Brett Brown deflected questions about Embiid in Saturday's pregame meeting with reporters, saying he had a conversation with Embiid about it and that he wanted to keep that talk private.
But 76ers president Bryan Colangelo later acknowledged that dancing on stage might not have been the best choice for Embiid to make given his injury.
''Being at the concert was not disappointing,'' Colangelo said. ''Probably being on stage and dancing was a little bit given the circumstances and given the potential reaction.''
Colangelo also revealed that in addition to a bone bruise on his left knee, Embiid has a minor tear in his meniscus. Colangelo said the latter injury isn't thought to be serious nor is it believed to be causing any symptoms.
''A lot of players do play with minor tears,'' Colangelo said. ''Once again, the injury is thought to be mostly about the bone bruise and that's what he's being treated for. If he can show he is healthy and able to play, there is no reason he shouldn't play. This is not thought to be a severe injury.''
Embiid hasn't played since Jan. 27, when he had 32 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two blocks in a nationally televised 123-118 home loss to James Harden and Houston. Embiid is averaging 20.2 points and 7.8 rebounds in 31 games this season. Counting Saturday, he will have missed 12 of the last 13 games.
After sitting out his first two seasons with a foot injury, Embiid injured his knee on Jan. 20 in a 93-92 home victory over Portland.
Embiid wasn't selected as a reserve to the Eastern Conference's All-Star team, but he is scheduled to compete in the Rising Stars game and the Skills Challenge during the league's All-Star festivities. Colangelo said it is ''very unlikely'' that Embiid would participate in those.
Philadelphia has two games remaining after Saturday before the break, but it's doubtful Embiid will play in either, Monday at Charlotte and Wednesday at Boston.
''It's more than likely we'll hold him back until the end of the All-Star break,'' Colangelo said.
The 76ers entered Saturday 13-18 with Embiid in the lineup and 6-16 without him.
While Colangelo acknowledged the organization's disappointment, Brown chose to be closer to the vest.
When pressed about it not being a good look for Embiid to dance on stage when he can't play on the court, Brown acknowledged that was part of the discussion.
''The conversations I had with Joel after I saw the video included a lot, some of which you mentioned,'' Brown said. ''By and large, I'd probably prefer it was a private conversation.''
Asked if he was disappointed by Embiid's actions, Brown said: ''I'm not going to go there anymore. I've spoken with Joel privately and I'll leave it at that.''