PHOENIX — Joel Embiid (calf strain), James Harden (Achilles soreness), Jalen McDaniels (hip bruise) and Daniel House Jr. (shoulder soreness) are listed as questionable for Saturday’s game at the Phoenix Suns.
Harden, McDaniels and House missed the Sixers’ loss at the Golden State Warriors on Friday night. Embiid — the NBA’s leading scorer at 33.4 points per game — did not play in the second half of Wednesday’s win against the Chicago Bulls, but returned and had 46 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in Friday’s loss.
After that game, he said his calf felt “OK, a little sore. Just have to keep at it and see how it feels tomorrow and the next few days. It’s all about being healthy for the playoffs. Whatever heals me there, we will do.”
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Harden, the NBA leader in assists with 10.8 per game, has missed the Sixers’ last two contests. Coach Doc Rivers said before Friday’s loss to Golden State that there was a “chance” Harden could return against the Suns, but “probably a better chance” he would return Monday against the Western Conference-leading Denver Nuggets.
“If this was a playoff game, James would play,” Rivers said at the time. “But we’re just not going to do that now. We decided, especially now with the boys, if they show something, they are out.”
McDaniels has been dealing with his injury for almost two weeks. It happened during a March 12 win against the Washington Wizards, causing him to miss two games. He then appeared to struggle while playing limited minutes against the Indiana Pacers on March 18 and the Chicago Bulls on March 20, before again sitting out the Sixers’ previous two games. He has averaged 5.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in 15 games since the Sixers acquired him at the February trade deadline.
House was a late scratch in Friday’s loss at the Warriors after the medical and training staff tended to his shoulder following the Sixers’ morning shootaround. He recently returned to the Sixers rotation and is averaging 4.3 points and 1.7 rebounds in 48 games.
The Sixers (49-24) have won eight of their last 10 games and enter Saturday 1½ games behind the Boston Celtics for second in the Eastern Conference playoff standings.