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The Sixers are guaranteed to be shorthanded once again when they take on the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night. While key players such as Seth Curry, Tobias Harris, and Danny Green could make their returns as they are questionable for the matchup, Philly's All-Star center Joel Embiid has been ruled out already.

Embiid's eventual absence on Wednesday doesn't come as much of a surprise. As the All-Star center tested positive for COVID-19 a couple of weeks ago, he was expected to miss time. And since the Sixers have been on a long road trip out West, his chances of returning to the floor before they make it home was always up in the air.

His battle with COVID started ahead of Philly's November 8 matchup against the New York Knicks. At the time, the Sixers already had three players in the NBA's health and safety protocol and Embiid became the fourth, and so far, has been the final as nobody has tested positive since.

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Ever since missing that Monday night matchup against the New York Knicks, Embiid was ruled out ahead of the final two games of that three-game homestand along with the first five games of the Sixers' current six-game road trip.

His absence on Wednesday will mark the ninth-straight matchup he will miss this season. While his recent absence has certainly been unfortunate for the Sixers, who have only won two of their last eight games without Embiid, there seems to be a good chance the MVP runner-up is back in the lineup on Saturday.

"There's optimism that Joel Embiid can be back on this upcoming homestand in Philadelphia," said ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski Tuesday on NBA Today. "They play Saturday, they play Monday, and there's optimism it could be as soon as Saturday."

After the Sixers face the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, they'll get two days off before they return to the court for a matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves. It's unclear right now if Embiid is set to make his return then, but he's been in the gym working out, and it seems he's trending in the right direction.

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.