76ers' Joel Embiid Out vs. Pacers; Knee Injury Diagnosed as Soreness

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 31, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC -  DECEMBER 5: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers shoots a free throw during the game against the Washington Wizards on December 5, 2019 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)
Stephen Gosling/Getty Images

Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid has been ruled out (left knee soreness) for Tuesday afternoon's game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Embiid is coming off of posting 35 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and one block on 11-of-16 shooting in Philly's 117-116 overtime loss to the Miami Heat on Saturday.

The 25-year-old center is averaging 23.7 points, 12.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks through 29 games in 2019-20.

The No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft, Embiid didn't make his NBA debut until October 2016. He was then limited to just 31 games as a rookie.

The Sixers have understandably kept Embiid on a careful load management plan since then. The two-time All-Star made 63 and 64 appearances, respectively, over the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons.

Philadelphia expects to lose Embiid for brief stretches here and there, and keeping him healthy for the postseason is the team's top priority.

The Toronto Raptors provided the blueprint with how they handled Kawhi Leonard coming off a quad injury that ended his 2017-18 season a year prior. Leonard missed 22 regular-season games but was a terror in the playoffs as the Raptors won their first title.

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The fact that the Sixers have to be so diligent with Embiid isn't ideal, but they won't be too concerned as long as he avoids a long-term injury.