The Injury Bug Has Already Bited the Sixers.
If Ben Simmons continued to sit out this season, the Philadelphia 76ers were bound to have some issues. Beyond the loss of his production, Simmons’ ongoing absence has repercussions for Philadelphia’s overall depth.
That, too, is a best-case scenario. If anything more goes wrong, especially in terms of injuries, the Sixers might be in big trouble. And only three games into the 2021-22 season, the team already appears to be grappling with some kinks.
On the eve of the team’s Sunday night matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder, star big man Joel Embiid and his backup, Andre Drummond, have both been added to the team’s injury report, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Embiid is questionable with right knee pain, according to Pompey. Drummond, on the other hand, has been rated as questionable due to a sprained right ankle.
The Incredible Roster Shrinkage
The NBA season is just a week old, but the Sixers appear to be in mid-season form when it comes to injuries. In addition to Embiid and Drummond, Shake Milton (right ankle), Grant Riller (left knee), and Ben Simmons (personal reasons) will miss the 1-1 Sixers’ game against Oklahoma City.
During the Sixers’ 114-109 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, it was evident that Embiid wasn’t quite firing on all cylinders. The four-time All-Star and runner-up for NBA MVP in 2021 scored 19 points on 6-of-15 shooting in just under 30 minutes of action. However, he also had eight rebounds, four assists, four blocks, and two steals.
In 18 minutes of action, Drummond had four points, ten rebounds, two assists, two steals, and two blocks.
Under normal conditions, Embiid’s absence would be an ideal opportunity for Drummond to demonstrate the qualities that helped him earn two All-Star berths with the Detroit Pistons. Doc Rivers will have to dig deep for a frontcourt answer if both are out.
Signed as a free agent In a pinch, Georges Niang might fill in as a floor-stretching five. Rivers may also turn to Paul Reed, a second-year player with more movement and defensive promise than the former. Charles Bassey, a rookie forward-center, might also be a viable alternative.
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