After scoring 29 points, drilling six three-pointers and snatching eight rebounds on Thursday in Portland, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid did not hop on a plane with his teammates to Denver. Embiid wasn't going to play against the Nuggets on Saturday night as a precautionary measure, so why bother with the extra travel? Instead, Embiid boarded a flight to Phoenix, where he's expected to suit up for the 76ers when they face the Suns on Sunday.
Not allowing Embiid to play two games in two days is one of the many ways Philadelphia is trying to keep its star big man healthy. Embiid, who has chronic back pain, does not practice. He does not participate in shootarounds. Most nights, 76ers coach Brett Brown finds out roughly 35 minutes before game time if Embiid can play, according to a Sports Illustrated story that ran last week.