TORONTO (AP) — Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid sat out Friday night at Toronto because of a sore right knee.
A five-time All Star and the reigning NBA scoring champion, Embiid is averaging 27.6 points and 10 rebounds in five games. The 76ers are 1-4, putting pressure on coach Doc Rivers to turn things around.
“I just think every night Joel is questionable right now,” Rivers said before the game. “I think we should treat him like Tom Brady, honestly. We want to make sure he feels great early in the year, every night.”
Guard De’Anthony Melton started Friday alongside Tobias Harris, Tyrese Maxey, P.J. Tucker, and James Harden.
Rivers said Embiid has soreness in his knee but no structural damage.
“But we take that seriously and I think we have to,” Rivers said.
Embiid suffered from plantar fasciitis in the offseason, and was essentially sidelined headed into training camp.
Embiid has dealt with ill health for the bulk of his NBA career — he famously missed his first two seasons with injuries — and sustained a right orbital fracture and concussion in last season’s playoffs against the Raptors. He had offseason surgery to repair the torn ligament in his right thumb suffered in the playoffs and a procedure to repair an injury to his left index finger.
Philadelphia lost at Boston in its season-opening game before losing at home to Milwaukee and San Antonio. The 76ers beat Indiana on Monday but lost 119-109 at Toronto on Wednesday.
“Obviously I don’t want to be 1-4, but we saw when the schedule came out we played the two best teams in the East the first two games,” Rivers said. “We knew we were going to come (to Toronto for two games) and I knew it was going to be hard. Outwardly there might be panic or whatever it is but we don’t have any. We feel good about our team.”
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