Harden still out, Embiid listed as questionable for Sixers’ home opener

James Harden remains unavailable for the Philadelphia 76ers’ home opener, while Joel Embiid’s availability is uncertain.

Harden was officially ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Trail Blazers at Wells Fargo Center. This marks his third consecutive absence, with the previous two games designated as “return to competition reconditioning.”

The 34-year-old guard rejoined the Sixers following a 10-day absence caused by personal matters. Sixers head coach Nick Nurse referred to Harden’s current condition as “ramp-up phase.” Due to this, the team decided to have the 10-time All-Star work out at their training complex in Camden, New Jersey, instead of joining the road trip.

Nurse stated that Harden’s status is being assessed day by day. The Sixers’ medical staff will determine when he is ready to return to the court. It’s worth mentioning that Harden had requested a trade during the offseason.

In addition, Joel Embiid is labeled as questionable for the game due to rest, considering it is the second night of a back-to-back. In the previous games, Embiid played 36 minutes against the Bucks and 35 minutes against the Raptors, showcasing his excellent performance despite conditioning concerns.

If Embiid doesn’t play, Paul Reed is a strong candidate to start. Either rookie Filip Petrušev or Mo Bamba could also be included in the rotation. However, Petrušev has shown better performance during the preseason, even though Bamba possesses valuable shot-blocking skills and NBA experience.

The home opener against the Trail Blazers marks the start of a five-game homestand for the Sixers. With a 2-1 record, they aim to defeat the Blazers, who have Anfernee Simons out due to a right thumb UCL tear, and drop their record to 0-3.

One interesting matchup will feature 22-year-old Tyrese Maxey against 19-year-old Blazers guard Scoot Henderson, the No. 3 overall pick in the recent NBA draft. Maxey has been outstanding in the Sixers’ first two games, scoring a total of 65 points and shooting 58.8 percent from three-point range. Moreover, he recorded 15 assists and only committed one turnover in 81 minutes of play.


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