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Sixers say Embiid just experiencing "soreness"

Brett Brown wants folks to relax.

The 76ers coach confirmed Tuesday that Joel Embiid is again in a walking boot. Brown added that the rookie center is just experiencing "soreness" in his right foot, and that Embiid's doctor visit Tuesday in Los Angeles was long scheduled.

"People shouldn't overreact," Brown said after practice at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. "I get why we all can. But it's not a situation all the people need to overreact to."

The coach's comments came one day after a report stated that Embiid had a "minor setback" in his rehabilitation from June 20 surgery in California to repair a broken navicular bone in his right foot. The 7-footer was also spotted Sunday wearing a walking boot, something he hadn't worn in some time.

Embiid was expected to sit out the 2014-15 season once the Sixers selected him third overall in the NBA draft in June. The former Kansas standout, however, had been progressing as of late. Embiid lost the excess weight he had gained and looked good while participating in on-court drills before Sixers games.

He even finished a layup with a between-the-legs dunk before Friday's home game against Utah. But Embiid did not participate in his customary pregame drills Saturday, nor did he do his routine post-practice workout Monday.

"I don't believe so," Brown said when asked whether the soreness was associated with the dunk. "It's hard to say yes or no."

The coach said that the Sixers decided Saturday night to put Embiid back in a walking boot.

As much as the Sixers downplay this "minor setback," Brown acknowledged that it's a situation to watch.

After the draft, the franchise said Embiid's recovery would take five to eight months. He's going on nine months since the operation and experiencing soreness.

"There's no such thing as a minor setback for a big man with a foot injury," an Eastern Conference executive said.

Brown disagreed.

"But I think when you speak to doctors and people that do this all the time and give assessments, they say it's quite normal," he said. "It's part of the history. It's part of the recovery of an injury that you will experience some soreness from time to time.

"I think when you see him doing a dunk and when people see him in a boot, you connect the dots, and it's fair. Nobody's trying to be clandestine. It's very transparent."

Embiid has a history of injuries. That may have triggered the concern.

There's a chance this injury will hinder Embiid's career the way it has for other 7-footers. Like Embiid, Yao Ming suffered a stress fracture of the navicular bone in 2008 and again in 2009. Yao was forced to retire in 2011 because of the injury.

The Sixers point out that Michael Jordan had a Hall of Fame career after overcoming this injury.

The franchise believes that, if healthy, Embiid can become the team's cornerstone.

"We do admit that we have to tame him, calm him down because he just wants to be on the court," Brown said. "He's dying to play basketball."