BIRMINGHAM, Mich. - Joel Embiid will miss his sixth consecutive game and his ninth out of the last 10 Monday night when the 76ers play the Detroit Pistons. And Sixers coach Brett Brown will say only that the center is expected to return from a left knee bone bruise in the "not-too-distant future."

Brown was asked Sunday if Embiid would be available for Wednesday's game against the San Antonio Spurs at the Wells Fargo Center.

"I'm not sure," he said after the afternoon practice at Detroit Country Day School.

Is that reason to be concerned? Not according to Brown.

He's adamant that the rookie's lengthy time away is a result of the team's being cautious. Brown stressed that there's nothing to hide.

"When we hear me and others talk about that extreme caution, I think it shouldn't surprise anybody," he said. "In fact, I think people should get upset if they hear anything else . . . given where we are at right now.

"So we take it to the extreme on managing Joel Embiid's health."

Even before this injury, the Sixers (18-32) have been carefully managing Embiid's workload. They wanted to limit the stress on his right foot during games and practices. Embiid, the third overall pick in the 2014 draft, sat out the previous two seasons after surgeries to repair his navicular bone.

He does not play in both games on back-to-back nights. Embiid is also limited to playing 28 minutes in the games he does play.

While he'll rest, the Sixers are expected to welcome Robert Covington and Jahlil Okafor back against the Pistons (23-28).

Covington missed the last three games with a bruised right hand. Okafor missed Saturday's loss to Miami with a bruised right knee.

Both looked good at practice Sunday when they were on the first unit. Afterward, Okafor iced his right knee, as the center usually does following practices. Covington participated in post-practice shooting drills. The small forward was the last Sixer to leave the gym.

"We are going to keep getting treatment, but overall I feel good," Covington said of his hand. "We are going to keep doing enough to keep the swelling down and go from there."

Nerlens Noel, who played Saturday with an upper respiratory inflection/flu symptoms, also practiced Sunday. The reserve center said he felt a little bit better.

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