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Shorthanded Sixers rule Embiid, Maxey out for matchup with Nuggets

Shorthanded Sixers rule Embiid, Maxey out for matchup with Nuggets originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The undermanned Sixers made Joel Embiid a last-minute scratch Saturday.

Minutes before the team's tip-off against the Nuggets, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Embiid has left knee soreness and the Sixers' training staff “had concerns while watching … his warm-up routine.”

Embiid wasn't listed on any pregame injury reports. Entering Saturday, the Sixers were 26-7 in his appearances and 3-7 without him.

The NBA’s leader in minutes per game also won’t play any in Denver. The Sixers ruled Tyrese Maxey out with a left ankle sprain.

Maxey’s only absence this season before Saturday was a Dec. 1 game in Boston that he missed because of an illness. He’s averaged a league-high 37.5 minutes in Nick Nurse’s first season as Sixers head coach and posted 25.7 points, 6.6 assists and 3.6 rebounds per contest. Maxey had a 25-point, nine-assist outing when the Sixers beat the Nuggets on Jan. 16.

Though the 23-year-old has had a stellar year overall, Maxey’s shooting numbers have dipped lately. He’s shot 41.3 percent from the field and 32.2 percent from three-point range over his last 15 games.

The Sixers were also down Tobias Harris (illness), De’Anthony Melton (lumbar spine stress response), Robert Covington (left knee bone bruise) and Mo Bamba (right knee inflammation).

Prior to the Sixers’ loss Thursday against the Pacers, Harris had sat out just once this season. He’s missed the first two games of the Sixers’ five-game road trip with his illness.

After facing Denver, the Sixers will have six games left before the Feb. 8 trade deadline and 10 remaining before the All-Star break.