Joel Embiid did not make the trip to Indianapolis with the 76ers for Friday night’s preseason game against the Indiana Pacers. The All-Star center has a non-COVID-19 related illness.
The Sixers, who open the regular season Wednesday against the Washington Wizards, wanted to be cautious and kept him home in Philadelphia.
Dwight Howard is expected to start in Embiid’s place Friday.
Embiid is in solid shape and had a dominating performance in Tuesday’s 108-99 preseason victory over the Boston Celtics at Wells Fargo Center. He only played in the first half and finished with 18 points on 6-for-14 shooting to go with 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals in 17 minutes.
New coach Doc Rivers called Embiid’s performance phenomenal.
“It’s a great example for Joel,” Rivers said after the game. “We ran our stuff, but we didn’t run his stuff and he still had 18.”
That’s one of the things that Rivers has been telling him in training camp. He informed the big man the Sixers can run a continuity offense and not run any plays for him. But he’s still going to end up with the ball because he’s the best player.
“I thought that was a great thing for Joel to see,” the coach said.
Meanwhile, Howard had five points on 2-for-4 shooting. He also finished with 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and a turnover in 17 minutes off the bench.