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Sixers star Joel Embiid to be game-time decision vs. Thunder

Joel Embiid, Sixers

Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid will be a game-time decision for his team’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday afternoon, according to 76ers reporter Jessica Camerato.

Embiid is dealing with a back injury.

The 76ers drew heavy criticism for allowing Embiid to play through the issue during the team’s win over the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night, as Embiid played 35 minutes and looked uncomfortable at times during his 22-point performance.

This is not the first time he has dealt with back problems.

During his lone season at Kansas, Embiid suffered a stress fracture in his back which was the primary reason why he fell to No. 3 overall rather than being selected No. 1 during the 2014 NBA Draft.

The 24-year-old then proceeded to miss the entire 2014-15 NBA campaign due to a combination of the back injury and a foot issue that also knocked him out of the following season.

For a seven-footer who has had back issues in the past, allowing him to play through it in a game in January is certainly controversial. At halftime of the 76ers’ game against the Pacers, Charles Barkley ripped Philadelphia’s organization for its decision to play Embiid, calling it “the stupidest organization in sports.”

On the year overall, Embiid is averaging 26.9 points, 13.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists over 33.5 minutes per game while shooting 48.8 percent from the floor and 31 percent from three-point range.

Let’s remember, though, that Embiid has a longstanding feud with Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, so he will certainly want to play in this game. It will be up to the Sixers in making the final determination.