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Joel Embiid rolls ankle at practice, questionable for Saturday’s game vs. Hornets

Near the end of Friday's practice, during a drill, Embiid came down on Amir Johnson's foot.

Joel Embiid is questionable for Saturday's 76ers game against the Charlotte Hornets.
Joel Embiid is questionable for Saturday's 76ers game against the Charlotte Hornets.Read moreYong Kim / Staff Photographer

The Sixers were dealt another blow Friday when Joel Embiid rolled his left ankle.

Near the end of practice, during a drill, Embiid came down on Amir Johnson's foot. Because of the injury, described by Brett Brown as a "slight roll of the ankle,"  Embiid is listed as questionable for Saturday's game against the Charlotte Hornets at the Wells Fargo Center.

Embiid will be reevaluated and his status will be updated before Saturday's game.

The Sixers are no stranger to injuries, and the early days of this season have been no different. Ben Simmons did not play in the Sixers' overtime loss in Detroit on Tuesday because of lower back tightness, but returned to play Wednesday in the Sixers' loss at Milwaukee. Wilson Chandler, who had been eyeing Saturday as a return date after suffering a left hamstring strain in the preseason opener on Sept. 28, is listed as out against the Hornets after being a partial participant in Friday's practice.

Mike Muscala, the Sixers' other offseason acquisition, just returned to play Tuesday after being sidelined with a sprained right ankle. Rookie Zhaire Smith remains out after surgery to repair a broken left foot, and Jerryd Bayless is out with a left knee sprain.

The Sixers (2-3) have had a bumpy start to the season, impacted not only by the injuries but also new additions, concepts, and lineups.

"Some of it probably is us not really carrying anything over from last year, and I don't know why that is," guard JJ Redick said after practice Friday. "Some of it could be Ben in and out of the lineup, the new starting lineup, integrating Mike, hopefully soon Wilson, integrating Landry. We're figuring things out. That's not an excuse; it's just the nature. We're not in a flow or a rhythm."

Though the early-season injuries have made it more difficult for Brown to find his own rhythm with substitution patterns, he said it's not something that surprises him or any other coach in the league.

"It's just part of the world we live in," Brown said. "It's why you've got a team. It's why you play 82 games. It certainly is not ideal. … You move on."

Injuries are certainly a part of the NBA landscape, but any injury to Embiid is particularly daunting for the Sixers. He is not only the defensive anchor of the team,  but also the Sixers run most of their offense through the center and the rest of the roster benefits by the attention Embiid demands from defenses.

Embiid is averaging 29.6 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 4.2 assists in five games this season. His 148 points scored this season rank third in the NBA entering Friday's games, behind only Golden State's Stephen Curry (173) and Charlotte's Kemba Walker (155).

Simmons said that his time off and back injury are nothing to worry about and that he feels great. He had been seen during Wednesday's loss in Milwaukee with ice packs on his back and working with team trainers in between his stints on the court, but he said that was only to stay warm and was a precautionary measure.

After the Sixers play the Hornets at home on Saturday, they will host the Atlanta Hawks on Monday before heading to Toronto to face Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors on Tuesday for their second set of back-to-back games this season.