Nerlens Noel would need time - maybe an hour - to go through the list of teammates he has had as a 76er.

After Hollis Thompson was released Wednesday, Noel is the only holdover from the Sixers' 2013-14 team.

In fact, Noel, Robert Covington, and Joel Embiid are the only remaining players that have been on the roster before the start of last season.

"I thought there would be a few more players that would have stuck," Noel said. "But it obviously is a crazy thing to look at, seeing how many players we've been through and how many teammates I barely can remember the names of."

The constant reshaping of the roster makes the 6-foot-11, 232-pounder aware of the business side of the NBA. It also enabled him to put his uncertain future with the team in perspective.

The Sixers had discussions with numerous NBA teams last summer about trading the big man, and there is a chance that Noel could be moved before the trade deadline in February. His time with the Sixers could still be numbered even if he's not traded at the deadline.

"Every time you have a sit-down, Coach [Brett Brown] is saying such and such got released," Noel said. "So it definitely builds a willing nature to just be strong enough [to handle it if he's released or traded.] If it ever does come, I've seen it [with others before] and been through it."

The franchise chose not to extend his rookie contract, meaning Noel becomes a free agent this summer. The Sixers could make him a qualifying offer, making him a restricted free agent. In that scenario, they can match any offer he receives from another team. If they don't give him a qualifying offer, he could sign with any team he chooses.

For now, he's the longest-tenured Sixer.

"I just see it as survival of the fittest. . . . Honestly, I just see it as that's how it is right now. With all of the guys that came through, they are obviously in better places."

Embiid questionable

Joel Embiid is questionable for Friday's road game against the Boston Celtics because of gastroenteritis.

The center did not participate in Thursday's practice. He will travel with the team to Boston Thursday afternoon and be evaluated. The team recalled Richaun Holmes from the Delaware 87ers in case Embiid can't play.

Noel and Jahlil Okafor are the two candidates to start if Embiid is sidelined. Don't be surprised if Noel gets the nod. He was the backup center Tuesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Noel was with the first unit Thursday during practice.

Holmes, the fourth-string center, was sent down to the Sixers' NBA Development League affiliate on Wednesday. He finished with 14 points and seven rebounds in that night's loss to the Maine Red Claws.

Before the call-up, Holmes had been scheduled to remain with the Sevens through Saturday to play in their next two games.

Small forward Robert Covington (lower back bruise) is listed as questionable for the Celtics game. Point guard Sergio Rodriguez (left ankle sprain) and shooting guard Gerald Henderson (left hip pain) are probable.

kpompey@phillynews.com

@PompeyOnSixers

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