Injury status of Joel Embiid and James Harden updated by HC Doc Rivers

James Harden suffered an injury that sidelined him for several months. Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey followed suit, with both players coming and going.

So, what exactly are Joel Embiid and James Harden’s injuries?

Injury reports Joel Embiid-James Harden
(Source: Wikipedia)

It’s a conundrum that suggests the Sixers’ best basketball is still ahead of them.

This season, the Philadelphia 76ers started slowly, going 1-4, with the offense playing well but the defense looking non-existent.

If the team can continue to play high-level defense (a big “if” considering Maxey and Harden are below-average defenders) and marry it with the blistering offense we’ve seen from Harden-Embiid lineups, the team could be a tough out.

Doc Rivers provided some insight into how both Embiid and Harden are recovering from injuries ahead of Friday’s game against the Magic.

“I know they’re both on the floor at the practice facility doing work, but there’s no update as far as a return or anything like that.”

Even a game against the lowly Orlando Magic looked intimidating without Embiid, Maxey, and Harden.

Shake Milton, the point guard, came through big time. Milton had his first career double-double on Friday, finishing with 24 points and 10 assists, one rebound shy of a triple-double.

It’s the latest in a string of strong performances by Milton, who has seen a significant increase in playing time with Philadelphia’s starting guards out.

If Milton continues to perform well, he could be a huge asset to the Sixers in more ways than one. Milton has the potential to become the bench’s best ballhandler (if he hasn’t already), providing consistent backup minutes to keep Harden and Maxey fresh.

When Will Harden and Embiid to Return?

While Embiid’s return is uncertain, all signs point to Harden returning to the lineup soon.

According to an Eastern Conference executive who spoke with Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney, the Sixers may consider easing Harden back into the rotation during the team’s upcoming long homestand.

“They have a long homestand (starting December 9) and from what it sounds like, that is about when he will be back. Maybe he gets back out there on the road before that, but it sounds like by the end of that first week in December will be it.”

In those circumstances, having Harden return would be ideal. During that time, Philadelphia will also face the Hornets, Pistons, Kings, and Lakers. The Kings are the most frightening of the bunch, despite having a bottom-four defense this season.