BOSTON - There has been speculation that 76ers center Joel Embiid might miss the final 26 games of the season with knee injuries.

Brett Brown put that speculation to rest Wednesday. The Sixers coach was asked when Embiid was projected to return to the court. Wednesday's matchup against the Boston Celtics at T.D. Garden marked the 11th straight game he has missed after suffering a bone bruise in his left knee on Jan. 20 against the Portland Trail Blazers. Embiid also has missed 14 of the last 15 matchups. An MRI exam revealed that he also has a slightly torn meniscus.

"I don't know the timing," Brown said. "But I do know that the thought is he's going to come back and play. I don't know the timing. That's probably the thing that I am told, and the fans deserve to hear as much as anything that comment."

Embiid will not compete in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday in New Orleans as part of the NBA's all-star weekend. He also will be replaced by Denver Nuggets post player Nikola Jokic in Saturday's Skills Challenge.

Simmons' status

Brown added that the Sixers also expect rookie Ben Simmons to play this season.

"It is moving slowly," Brown said of Simmons' return. "It's calculated. We are trying to be very careful."

The coach said the team would have a better idea of when the first overall pick in 2016 can debut after he participates in five-on-five scrimmages after the all-star break.

"But I think the path right now is solid," Brown said.

Simmons has yet to play this season after breaking his right foot on Sept. 30, the final day of training camp. He underwent surgery.