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Joel Embiid (ankle) to miss 76ers’ Christmas Day game vs. Heat

MIAMI — The Philadelphia 76ers announced Sunday afternoon that Joel Embiid, the NBA’s reigning Most Valuable Player, will miss Monday’s Christmas Day game against the Miami Heat with a sprained right ankle.

Embiid suffered the injury in Friday night’s win over the Toronto Raptors when he landed awkwardly trying to block a shot midway through the first quarter. He went on to finish the game with 31 points and 10 rebounds and post his 13th consecutive game with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds — joining Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Elgin Baylor as the only players in NBA history to have at least that many consecutive games with those totals.

His 14 straight games with at least 30 points are also the most since Embiid’s former teammate James Harden had at least 30 points in 32 consecutive games in the 2018-19 season.

After Friday’s victory, Embiid declined to talk about the injury, saying he would get it checked out and “we’ll see.”

The 76ers continue their road trip Wednesday in Orlando, and the team said his status for that game has yet to be determined. He didn’t make the trip to Miami with his teammates to face Jimmy Butler and the Heat.

“Obviously, he stayed in the game and it didn’t change his rotation at all,” 76ers coach Nick Nurse said after Friday’s win. “But he played through it and I’m pretty sure he’ll be sore tomorrow. We’ll have to monitor it over the next couple days before we get on the plane [to Miami].”

Philadelphia enters Monday’s game with a 20-8 record — good for third in the Eastern Conference standings — and has the league’s best point differential, second-best offensive rating and second-best defensive rating. The Boston Celtics are the only other team that is in the top five on both offense and defense. The 76ers have won eight of their past nine games and 10 of their past 13.

Embiid, meanwhile, is playing arguably the best basketball of his career, leading the league in scoring (35 points per game). He currently has more points scored than minutes played this season. He’s also averaging a career-high six assists per game.


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