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Doc Rivers opens up on depleted Sixers roster

Sixers, Doc Rivers

A slew of injuries and COVID-19 concerns have left the Philadelphia 76ers with an especially shorthanded roster of late. The Sixers last played on Saturday, losing 106-104 to the Memphis Grizzlies. Doc Rivers’ group took the floor without Joel Embiid (knee), Seth Curry (COVID), Furkan Korkmaz (adductor strain), and Mike Scott (knee soreness).

Their matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder scheduled for Sunday was postponed for contact tracing reasons that put Philadelphia below the minimum required available players, per league rules.

Rivers, in his first season in Philly, spoke Tuesday on the challenges of navigating the season with a depleted unit:

“It’s been tough,” he said, via Derek Brodner of The Athletic. “[You’re] trying to teach execution, but you’re teaching it with guys that wouldn’t normally be in the spot that you’re teaching it in. At least today we had what looked like the Sixers, instead of the seven Sixers.”

In some good news, the Sixers expect All-Star center Joel Embiid to return to the lineup for Wednesday’s matchup against the Boston Celtics. Embiid began experiencing pain in his knee in last Thursday’s win over the Miami Heat, and he did not travel with the team to Memphis.

Rivers gave this update on Embiid’s status:

“He was in and out of practice today,” Rivers said, per Justin Grasso of SI. “We didn’t let him do a lot of stuff, but he looked pretty good.” The Sixers are set to take on the Boston Celtics for the first time this season on Wednesday night. Embiid’s playing status isn’t officially confirmed, but it seems that the veteran center will get the green light to go barring any surprise setbacks.

Embiid is playing at an MVP level this season, averaging 25.0 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game. He’s shooting a career-high 53.6 percent from the field over 11 games.

Despite the health issues, Philadelphia (9-5) has the third-best record in the Eastern Conference.