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February 08, 2017

Joel Embiid will continue to miss games (which the Sixers will probably lose)

Sixers NBA

If you were hoping to see “The Process” back in action tonight against the San Antonio Spurs, you’re out of luck. The Sixers announced that center Joel Embiid will miss the team’s next two games with a bone bruise in his left knee, according to the various reporters at the Sixers training facility:

Embiid went through “a light workout” (and was sporting some nifty new goggles), but he won’t play against San Antonio. That will make it eight straight games missed since the uber-talented 22-year-old big man returned for the nationally televised game against the Houston Rockets and 11 of 12 since he suffered the initial bone bruise against the Portland Trailblazers.

And while the Sixers are justified in being cautious, the decision to let Embiid talk his way into playing (and make no mistake, he was nothing short of brilliant that night) when he didn’t appear 100 percent against Houston still looks pretty questionable.

What this means for the rest of the Sixers’ season, is that at least up until the all-star break, the tank is back on. Since the Sixers played Houston, they have gone 1-5 and sport the worst net rating in the league during that time. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise. The team’s performance has fallen off a cliff when Embiid is not playing over the entire season, a testament to his game-changing ability already as a rookie. Again, there is reason to be extra careful with a talent like this.

After this upcoming back-to-back, the Sixers’ next home game is Saturday against the red-hot Miami heat. Then they finish up on the road at Charlotte and Boston before the all-star break.

At 18-33, the Sixers currently have the fourth-worst record in the NBA. There is a lot of competition for that spot, as five teams are within 1.5 games behind them in the race for ping-pong balls. As long Embiid is still rehabbing his bone bruise, expect the Sixers to hold off the rest of the pack during that time.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann