Joel Embiid Out for 76ers vs. Pacers with Back Injury Described as Tightness

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2021

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid (21) during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid will miss Sunday's game against the Indiana Pacers with back tightness.

The 26-year-old's talent has rarely been in doubt since he debuted in 2016. For the most part, though, he didn't dominate as consistently as you'd like for a player of his ability and skill level.

The Sixers big man is now playing at an MVP-type level to open the 2020-21 season. Through 16 games, he's averaging 28.3 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks. He's also shooting 54.4 percent from the floor and 40.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Many wondered whether Philadelphia would make a move for James Harden, but the 2017-18 MVP landed with the Brooklyn Nets instead. As a result, the franchise's championship hopes once again rest squarely on the shoulders of Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Given his injury history, fans expect Embiid will miss the occasional game here and there. Keeping him healthy for the playoffs will be the Sixers' priority.

The concern only comes if this injury continues to linger over the course of the year.