Joel Embiid's participation in drills with Robert Covington and Justin Anderson was one of the first sights visible inside the 76ers' practice gym after Friday morning's shootaround.
The Sixers said he was a partial participant in the morning prep for the 7 p.m. game against the Toronto Raptors at the Wells Fargo Center. During the drills the media witnessed, Embiid didn't show any signs of the back tightness that sidelined in the previous two games.
However, ESPN reported that he could miss both home and home matchups with Raptors before playing on Christmas Day against the New York Knicks. The Sixers visit Toronto on Saturday at the Air Canada Centre.
Sixers shooting guard JJ Redick is out Thursday and listed as doubtful for Saturday's game with right hamstring tightness. Meanwhile, reserve power forward Trevor Booker is listed as questionable with gastroenteris. He did not participate in the shootaround.
Based on Embiid's teammates' observations, the franchise player looked like he's ready to play Friday night.
"I mean he looked pretty good to me," reserve center Richaun Holmes said. "I don't really understand … I don't really know too much about what's going on. I just know to be ready when my name is called.
"Hopefully, he can go tonight."
Said Robert Covington: 'It's probable. You never know how he feels. He felt good this morning, but it has to be continued."
The small forward added that you don't want to rush anything. He said Embiid needs to be consistently pain free.
Covington knows what he's going through. The small forward missed two games this season with lower back tightness.
"It was one morning I felt good," he said. "The next morning I didn't. So it's an up-and-down thing. You have to have a continued stretch of where you are not getting that same tightness."
Dario Saric agrees.
The power forward hopes Embiid and the medical staff will figure out his status before the game. He realizes the team's best player would help them against the Raptors. Saric just doesn't want his team to rush him back.
Then again, he agreed with Holmes.