Sixers Will Head Out West Without Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid

Justin Grasso

CAMDEN, NJ -- The injury bug has been biting at the Philadelphia 76ers all season, but recently it got them good in the worst way possible. Not only is their All-Star starting center Joel Embiid injured once again, but so is their second All-Star, Ben Simmons.

Upon returning from the NBA All-Star break, the healthy Sixers returned to practice two weeks ago, getting ready to kick off the final third of the 2020 schedule. During the session, Simmons went up for a rebound and felt discomfort in his lower back.

After reporting it and missing a game with tightness, Simmons returned to the court last Saturday to compete against the Milwaukee Bucks. His return lasted roughly four minutes before he waved for the medical staff to follow him to the locker room. Since then, Simmons hasn't returned to the court and will seek treatment for a nerve impingement, which he will get re-evaluated in two weeks.

Joel Embiid, on the other hand, suffered his injury this past Wednesday as he collided with Cavaliers center Ante Zizic. As he showed he was in clear pain, the Sixers intentionally fouled to get him out of the game and ended up ruling him out for the remainder of the matchup.

As it turns out, Embiid has a sprained shoulder. While it was reported he suffered no structural damage, the big man is out for at least a week. The timing is unfortunate considering the Sixers are headed to the West Coast on Saturday afternoon for a four-game road trip beginning in Los Angeles on Sunday.

Before catching the flight, Sixers' head coach Brett Brown made it clear that Simmons will not be on the West Coast trip. Instead, he will remain in Philly as he continues to get treatment on his back. As far as Embiid goes, the Sixers plan to be without the center for the first two games against the Clippers and the Lakers.

While he won't travel to California with the team initially, the Sixers refuse to rule Embiid out for the final two games of the stretch. With his re-evaluation scheduled for Thursday, the earliest Embiid could return is on Thursday against the Sacramento Kings.

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

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