It’s just Game 2 of the NBA season and Joel Embiid will find himself in street clothes.
The Sixers star is set to miss Saturday’s game against the Detroit Pistons with a sprained ankle he suffered in the team’s opening win against the Boston Celtics.
Embiid went through shootaround but determined it was better for him to rest in the early season matchup.
The injury is concerning just when looking at Embiid’s injury history. He hasn’t played in more than 64 games in his career, a state he hoped to change this year as eyes an NBA MVP.
Embiid came to Philadelphia 76ers training camp 20 pounds lighter and a focus on being in shape for the entire season, with an eye on playing a career-high 70 games.
“I just remember thinking I let my team down,” Embiid told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. “You can’t control sickness or when it’s going to happen. Obviously my knee was bothering me the whole second half of the season and the playoffs. But all I was thinking was what can I do make sure I don’t let my teammates down again or my team. Or the whole city basically. That was to take better of my body. To work on the stuff I never really paid attention to, and it’s been going well the whole summer.”
It’s also disappointing for fans who wanted to see Embiid matched up against Pistons center Andre Drummond — someone who he has tortured through the years with trash talk and strong play.
The Sixers could decide to go with a smaller look, although their one of the longest teams in the league, even without Embiid. However, it will likely be veteran Kyle O’Quinn who sees the largest uptick in minutes.
“He has heart. He wants to win,” Brown said of O’Quinn. “He’s passionate about the game, and he’s a hard worker. That’s just how he is as a person.”
Forward Mike Scott, a key reserve, is probable to suit up against the Pistons.
Joel Embiid’s Face OK Follow Bloody Outing
The ankle wasn’t the primary injury concern in the Sixers opener for Embiid, who took an elbow to the face in the third quarter against the Celtics when Jalen Brown went up for a shot, lacerating his lip and causing a bit of a mess.
Embiid missed only a brief amount of time before returning and it didn’t seem to effect his game one bit, as he was all over the floor trying to wrangle in loose balls.
After a slow start, Embiid finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds. He did struggle with his shooting, finishing 5-of-14.
Embiid was not available for postgame interviews due to the swelling in his face, but Sixers skipper Brett Brown showed big support for his star earlier in the week.
“I think he’s gonna have a year that puts us in a position to win a championship,” Brown said. “I feel a tremendous responsibility to help him define his legacy. Legacies start with championships. I didn’t take an S off that word on purpose. It’s championships.”
Sixers Get First Road Test in Detroit
The Sixers will be on the road for five of their next six games, including a string of four matchups against Western Conferences foes.
“It’s part of the endurance, the grind, the mental endurance to navigate this long of a season,” Brown told reporters. “Off we go. We’re on the road, and that’s that.”
The Pistons started their regular season by splitting a back-to-back, beating the Pacers on Wednesday and falling to Atlanta on Thursday.