The Philadelphia 76ers returned to the east coast on Monday night as they gear up for their fourth matchup of the season against the New York Knicks on Tuesday. When the Sixers and the Knicks take the court to face each other for the first time this season, a familiar face to the Sixers franchise might not be a part of New York's lineup.
Veteran center Nerlens Noel has been listed as questionable on the Knicks' Monday night injury report. Per the team, Noel has been dealing with left knee soreness and his setback isn't sudden.
When the Knicks took the court last Wednesday for their opener against the Boston Celtics, Noel wasn't on the court for the same reason. And as the Knicks faced the Orlando Magic over the last two games, Noel was doubtful heading into both matchups.
While the veteran center has been upgraded to questionable against the Sixers before Tuesday night, it seems there's still a shot Noel doesn't make his 2021-2022 season debut against the team that traded for him during the 2013 NBA Draft when he was selected by the New Orleans Pelicans out of Kentucky.
However, Noel's possible absence doesn't automatically give the Sixers an advantage. Like the Knicks, the Sixers' set of centers are dealing with setbacks of their own. Joel Embiid, who injured his knee during the season-opener last Wednesday, has been dealing with knee soreness for roughly about a week now.
In addition to Embiid, his backup Andre Drummond is also battling a sprained ankle. After missing Sunday's matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Drummond's status is once again in question for Tuesday's game.
The Sixers and the Knicks are set to tip-off at 7:30 pm EST.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.