The Philadelphia 76ers have battled significant health concerns early in the 2021-22 season, with superstar big man Joel Embiid sidelined for the last few weeks.
On Nov. 8, the team announced that Embiid had tested positive for COVID, joining Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle and Isaiah Joe in the league's health and safety protocols. Despite the growing inactive list, the Sixers had gotten out to an impressive start to the season. After an 8-2 start, the team dropped six of its next eight with Embiid among a group of players sidelined.
How long will Embiid be out?
Embiid was originally set to miss one game against New York with a back-to-back scheduled against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Instead, he has missed several games as he awaits consecutive negative tests to pass the league's health and safety protocols. His return, however, appears to be looming.
Joel Embiid injury timeline
Nov. 27: Joel Embiid makes his return to the Philadelphia 76ers lineup against the Minnesota Timberwolves, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Embiid has been inactive and away from the team, and has missed Philadelphia's past nine games.
Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris will play for Sixers tonight, source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 27, 2021
Nov. 24: After over two weeks in the league's health and safety protocols, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported that there is optimism that Embiid can return on Saturday, Nov. 28 after ramping up physical activity in recent days.
Sources: There’s optimism 76ers star Joel Embiid will return on Saturday vs. Minnesota following a three-week absence due to COVID-19. Embiid has been ramping up this week. If unable on Saturday, second game of home stand (Monday vs. Orlando) is possible.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 24, 2021
Nov. 16: When asked for an update on Embiid and Thybulle, he responded "With Matisse, it's just trying to get the right date with the league … With Joel, the same thing, just trying to get better. You have to have the two negative tests," per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
#Sixers center Joel Embiid and Matisse Thybulle (both health and safety protocols) along with Danny Green (left hamstring tightness) remain out for tomorrow’s game with the Denver Nuggets.— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) November 17, 2021
Nov. 8: Philadelphia head coach Doc Rivers reveals Embiid is suffering symptoms after contracting the virus.
“He's not doing great, struggling with it, like Tobias," Rivers said pregame.
The game against New York will mark the fifth straight game missed for Harris.
Nov. 8: Embiid was listed as out on the injury report due to health and safety protocols.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported the positive test.
Significant amount of 76ers staff has received the COVID-19 booster shot, and players were slated to begin receiving their shots this week. Embiid now could miss several more games in protocols -- beyond planned rest tonight. https://t.co/1OatV6RbSU— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 8, 2021
According to Charania, Philadelphia players were set to begin receiving booster shots as early as this week.