Joel Embiid Held Out Of Denver Game With Knee Soreness

Today’s game between the Sixers and Nuggets doesn’t include a rematch of MVP candidates Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic. Philadelphia’s training staff decided to hold Embiid out of the contest with left knee soreness after watching him in pregame warmups, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Embiid was dealing with pain in his knee during Thursday’s loss at Indiana, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. He managed to play 31 minutes and score 31 points, but he took an awkward fall at one point and grabbed at the knee. Pompey observed that Embiid had difficulty moving on defense throughout the game, and despite his great scoring night, the team was minus-20 when he was on the court.

Embiid and Jokic, who have combined to win the last three MVP awards, had their only meeting of the season on January 16 in Philadelphia. Embiid posted 41 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists in the Sixers’ five-point victory, while Jokic countered with 25 points, 19 rebounds and three assists.

Every game that Embiid misses is significant, given that he needs to play in 65 to qualify for MVP honors under the NBA’s new guidelines. Today marks his 11th missed game of the season, and it appears the knee could be a lingering issue. Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris are also sitting out the game with injuries. Embiid hasn’t played in Denver since 2019, Pompey tweets.

Today’s game is featured on ABC as part of the NBA’s “Rivals Week” promotion, but it loses a lot of its appeal without the matchup between the league’s two best centers.

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