Joel Embiid knows what has been said about him:

“The 76ers center is a great player … but he can’t remain healthy.”

“The four-time All-Star is a matchup nightmare … but he doesn’t play a full season.”

“Embiid is the most-dominant big man … but he’s not in shape.”

The 28-year-old is proving his critics wrong with 13 games remaining in the regular season. Embiid has been more durable this season and has played through nagging injuries. His 12 games missed this season is misleading because only one was the result of an injury.

He was a late scratch in the Sixers’ Dec. 13 road loss to the Memphis Grizzlies with rib soreness. Embiid missed two other games in what were scheduled rest days, and was sidelined nine games with COVID-19.

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But Embiid, who played the past two games with a sore back, could use a break. The Sixers will cap a grueling stretch of six games in nine days with a key back-to-back. They’ll entertain the Toronto Raptors at 8:30 p.m. Sunday at the Wells Fargo Center. Then on Monday, they’ll host the Miami Heat in a 7:30 p.m. tilt.

Afterward, the Sixers will embark on a three-game West Coast road trip with games at the Los Angeles Lakers (Wednesday), Clippers (Friday), and Phoenix Suns (March 27).

Embiid will listen to the medical team’s advice in regards to his availability moving forward. But there’s a part of him that wants to play in the remaining 13 games to get the monkey off his back by further disproving what his critics have said.

“I’m competitive. I won’t lie,” Embiid said. “I see everything. That’s always been the knock on me even though that was really my first three years. Everything that’s happened since, I’ve been healthy. I never missed more than two weeks with something. That’s the narrative.

“But then again, I’m competitive. I like a challenge. That’s something I think about a lot. And I like proving people wrong. So that goes in my thought process a lot.”

However, the Sixers (42-26) are second in the Eastern Conference, three games behind the first-place Heat (47-24).

A healthy Embiid, competing at an elite level, is the Sixers’ only chance to win an NBA title. Anyone who has watched the team play lately realizes that, even with the addition of James Harden, the Sixers lose a lot when Embiid isn’t on the court.

And that’s not surprising.

Embiid is first in the league in scoring (30.0 points per game), eighth in rebounding (11.3) and 10th in blocks (1.4). He’s also averaging a career-best 4.4 assists.

“The goal is ultimately to win a championship,” Embiid said, “and to be ready for the playoffs and be at my best. So that kind of overrules everything.

“This last couple of games, whatever is best for me to be 100 percent going into the playoffs, that’s what I’m going to do.”

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But Embiid has had bad luck in the past in regards to remaining on the court.

He missed last season’s All-Star Game and a March 11, 2021 victory over the Chicago Bulls because of COVID-19 contact tracing before suffering a game-ending left knee bone bruise on March 12, 2021 against the Washington Wizards. That injury sidelined him for 10 games.

Embiid ended up missing 21 of last season’s 72 games.

Then he hyperextended his right knee in Game 4 of the Sixers’ first-round playoff series against the Wizards. He sat out of the final three quarters of that loss. An MRI determined that Embiid had a small lateral meniscus tear in his right knee. As a result, he was sidelined in the Sixers’ Game 5 series-clinching victory over the Wizards.

The knee appeared to hamper him at times during the Sixers’ second-round loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

This all comes after he sat out his first two seasons because of two foot surgeries; had season-ending surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee during the 2016-17 campaign; and missed time at the end of the 2017-18 regular season because of an orbital bone fracture near his left eye.

In 2018-19, he missed time with tendinitis in his left knee. And in 2019-20, he was out after having surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left ring finger, had a left shoulder sprain, and other ailments.

The orbital bone fracture also sidelined him for Games 1 and 2 of the Sixers’ opening-round playoff series with the Miami Heat. He was less than 100% in the 2019 postseason because of tendinitis. And the following season, he twisted his left ankle with four games left in the regular season.

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So he has a history of being banged up heading into the playoffs.

But things have been different this season.

“He’s just playing through everything,” coach Doc Rivers said of Embiid dealing with his current back pain. “I go back to the same thing. He’s in great shape. Conditioning allows you to play through injury, allows you to play through pain, and he’s doing that.

“He wants to play. The games he’s sat, he’s not actually wanted to [do it]. He’d been told he had to. It’s been good. He’s been great.”