Joel Embiid has been listed as questionable for the Sixers game on Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Center that kicks off a four-game homestand. Josh Richardson is not on the injury report and is available.
Both players returned to practice on Tuesday, the team’s first practice since the Sixers ended a four-game road trip with Saturday’s 118-114 loss in San Francisco.
Embiid has missed the last five games after suffering a sprained left shoulder, and Richardson has been sidelined three games with a nose contusion and concussion.
Embiid suffered his injury in the Sixers’ 108-94 loss at Cleveland on Feb. 26. The Sixers are 2-3 in the five games Embiid has missed and are 11-10 this season without the All-Star center.
Richardson was injured in a 136-130 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on March 1. He has since cleared the concussion protocol. Richardson has missed 17 games this season, and the Sixers are 10-7 in those contests.
“I felt good today in practice. I went through the whole thing,” Richardson said after practice Tuesday and before he was declared available for Wednesday’s game. “I played some pickup yesterday, so I feel pretty good.”
A Sixers official said that an update on Ben Simmons’ status should be coming in the next couple of days. Simmons has missed the last seven games because of a pinched nerve in his lower back.
One thing is for sure, in Simmons’ absence, Shake Milton has earned a spot in the rotation and that won’t change upon Simmons return.
Milton has started the last seven games and has averaged 18.7 points and shot 62.2% from three-point range.
“Shake has obviously emerged to be a clear starting point guard in the group that we have,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “And you’d have to expect him to be in a significant role, you know as Ben becomes healthy and comes back. He is really playing a high level of basketball.”
When Milton was asked if he has surprised himself with his recent play, he showed true candor.
“No,” he said. “I put in a lot of work, work with the coaches, try to watch film, and stay ready when my time is called.”
Another person who will stay in the starting lineup, even upon Embiid’s return, is Al Horford. Both Embiid and Horford have had trouble jelling, mostly due to a spacing issue. Horford operates best down low, where Embiid is at his dominating best.
Brown actually brought Horford off the bench for three games, but re-inserted him in the starting lineup on Feb. 24 in a 129-112 win over the visiting Atlanta Hawks.
“When we don’t have Ben, my intention is to play [Horford] with Joel and try to grow that,” Brown said.
Once Simmons returns, Brown wouldn’t commit to Horford being a starter.