Well, well, well. What do you know? Joel Embiid was so close (was he really, though?) to playing against the Denver Nuggets for the first time in Colorado since Nov. 2019, but was a late scratch with left knee soreness. Embiid wasn't even listed on the injury report.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Philadelphia's training staff had "concerns" while watching Embiid warm-up on Saturday.
As expected, NBA fans erupted on social media, saying that Embiid was ducking Nikola Jokic in Denver yet again. It's hard to disagree with that take, as it doesn't seem coincidental that the Sixers center is missing another game at Ball Arena. Actually, he's never technically played at Ball. In 2019, it was still the Pepsi Center.
Even though Embiid wasn't on the injury report, there was still a fear that he could be a late scratch. When Woj reported on Friday that Embiid wouldn't be on the report, one Sixers writer decided to take a victory lap a bit too early.
Joel Embiid late scratch against Nuggets, hasn't played in Denver since 2019
Sorry, Bryan, but you should've known better.
Let's be serious for a minute. Embiid has missed time with a sore knee this season, but it's suspect that he wasn't listed on the injury report, especially since it was an issue in the Sixers' loss to the Pacers on Thursday. If it were that much of a concern, wouldn't he at least be deemed questionable entering the matchup?
Was Philadelphia worried about the blowback of putting Embiid on the injury report? If so, it looks even worse that his name wasn't listed, and he still didn't play.
Tickets sold for hundreds of dollars leading up to tip-off, making Embiid's late scratch much worse. Moving forward, the rule of thumb should be that when the Sixers are scheduled to play in Denver, there's a pretty good chance that Embiid won't play. Don't get burned again! More importantly, don't trust the injury report!