Joel Embiid to Miss 76ers' Next 3 Games for Maintenance Ahead of NBA Playoffs

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2019

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid (21) in action during an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Thursday, March 28, 2019, in Philadelphia. The 76ers won 123-110. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
Michael Perez/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid will not accompany the team on its impending three-game road trip for "load management," according to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Serena Winters.

The 76ers' road trip features clashes with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday, the Dallas Mavericks on Monday and the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday. All of those teams have losing records and have been eliminated from postseason contention.

Embiid is expected to return to the lineup when the Sixers host the Milwaukee Bucks on April 4.                

Playoff positioning doesn't appear to be much of a concern for Philadelphia (48-27) down the stretch. With seven games to play, it trails the Toronto Raptors for the second seed in the Eastern Conference by 4.5 games and holds a 3.5-game lead over the Boston Celtics and the Indiana Pacers.

The organization isn't willing to risk Embiid's health for the slim possibility of catching the Raptors.

Injuries have plagued the 7'0", 250-pound center throughout his career. He missed his first two professional seasons because of foot issues, and he was then limited to 31 games in 2016-17 with a knee injury. It was one year ago Thursday that he suffered an orbital fracture and wound up missing 10 games, including the first two of the postseason.

Embiid has been bothered by back and knee injuries this season. He has missed 13 games, including an eight-game stretch at the end of February and the beginning of March.

The two-time All-Star is averaging career highs in both scoring (27.5 points per game) and rebounding (13.7 per game) while adding 1.9 blocks per game.

Philadelphia should be able to survive without Embiid as long as Jimmy Butler, Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris, among others, stay healthy. The Sixers are expected to be among the top contenders in the East come playoff time—but that's with a healthy Embiid. Now, they are doing everything they can to ensure he's ready to go.