Sixers list 4 players as questionable for key meeting with Heat

Sixers list 4 players as questionable for key meeting with Heat originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Sixers listed four players as questionable for the opening game of their final road trip this regular season.

The team officially designated Joel Embiid (left knee injury recovery), Tobias Harris (left knee hyperextension), Tyrese Maxey (left hip tightness) and Mo Bamba (illness) as questionable Wednesday afternoon. The Sixers will face the Heat at Kaysea Center on Thursday night.

Robert Covington (left knee bone bruise/illness) and De’Anthony Melton (lumbar spine bone stress) remained out.

Miami ruled Tyler Herro out with a foot injury that’s sidelined him since late February.

The questionable listing is no surprise for Embiid, who returned from a left lateral meniscus injury Tuesday and helped the Sixers beat the Thunder.

“Just got to take it day by day, see how the knee responds tomorrow,” Embiid said after the win. “We’ve got a big one in Miami and I’m going to obviously go. It’s actually funny, the timeline was eight weeks and I’m back in eight weeks. I think I’ve learned a lot over the years. I’ve got to take care of myself and I’ve got to stay healthy, because I still have a long career ahead of me. I think it’s all about now and the future. So if something doesn’t feel right, then they’re going to shut it down.”

Maxey has missed the Sixers’ past two games after a stretch of 10 consecutive appearances. He took jumpers alongside Melton following the Sixers’ Tuesday morning shootaround and worked out pregame, but the All-Star guard ultimately sat and Cameron Payne started instead vs. Oklahoma City.

The Sixers used a nine-man rotation against the Thunder. Nicolas Batum played 30 minutes off the bench and Paul Reed had a productive night as Embiid’s lone backup, recording 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting and nine rebounds. Reed is the one Sixer to have played in all 76 of the team’s games.

Harris is second on the Sixers with 67 games played. He logged 35 minutes Tuesday night, including the last 10, and posted 18 points, six rebounds and four assists.

The Sixers’ matchup vs. Miami may very well play a significant role in how the Eastern Conference play-in tournament picture shakes out.

Heading into Wednesday’s NBA action, the 41-35 Sixers sat eighth in the East, trailing the Heat by 1.5 games and the Pacers by 2 games. The Sixers lost their season series to Indiana. Although the Sixers could tie their season series with Miami by winning Thursday, the Heat would still take a tiebreaker as things stand by virtue of superior in-conference record. Miami is 29-18 against the Eastern Conference and the Sixers are 27-21.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Basketball Reference’s playoff probabilities report gave the Sixers an 8.5 percent chance of avoiding the play-in tournament and a 69.2 percent chance of finishing eighth.

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