February 26, 2019
With everyone fearing for the worst after Boban Marjanovic went down with a knee injury on Monday night, it appears the Sixers may have dodged a bullet. The Sixers are calling Marjanovic's injury a bone bruise plus a mild right knee sprain, and he is not currently expected to miss much time.
On Tuesday morning, Boban underwent imagine, a CT scan, and an MRI in order to come to that conclusion. The Sixers are saying he will be reevaluated in "approximately 5-7 days." If he's out for the higher end of that timetable, that will rule him out of at least three games: at OKC, home vs. Golden State, and home vs. Orlando next week.
It's too early to tell how problematic that's going to be for the Sixers, as Joel Embiid's availability remains in doubt for the time being. The Sixers have already ruled him out for Thursday's national television game against Oklahoma City, which is over the initial week period the team ruled him out for following All-Star weekend.
According to a team representative who spoke with PhillyVoice, Embiid is not joining Philadelphia on the road trip in order for him to remain in Philadelphia and continue his physical therapy program under supervision from Sixers staffers. The Sixers have a game against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night, and the expectation is that Embiid will undergo a checkup sometime before the game.
Embiid's availability moving forward will be determined by the results of that examination and how his body feels following this period of rest and physical therapy.
With Philadelphia's starting and backup centers missing, the Sixers will play at least Thursday's game against OKC shorthanded in the frontcourt, which will make keeping Thunder center Steven Adams off the glass even more challenging.
Brett Brown's recent inclination has been to go small in these times of need, in part out of desperation and in part to experiment, and lineups with Ben Simmons and/or Mike Scott as the nominal big man will really be put to the test over the next few days. Jonah Bolden will be expected to start or at least play a significant role for the Sixers, but it will be a struggle no matter how the Sixers attack the problem, with both the Thunder and Warriors comfortable shifting in and out of different configurations to suit their needs.
In one final bit of news, the Sixers announced that Furkan Korkmaz underwent successful arthroscopic surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his right knee, which was torn during their February 12 game against the Boston Celtics. He is out and will be reevaluated in approximately four weeks.
That all adds up to a pretty ugly situation for Philadelphia. Down Embiid, Boban, Korkmaz, Zhaire Smith, and Shake Milton, the Sixers are down to just 10 healthy NBA players, 11 if you include Justin Patton, who has been playing exclusively for the Delaware Blue Coats since returning from injury. Even that probably oversells what they have available — Amir Johnson is an emergency option at best these days, and the team's role players acquired at the deadline, save Mike Scott, have yet to establish themselves as regular rotation players.
If there were ever a time for Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, and JJ Redick to step up, it's right about now. Good luck gentlemen.
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