Sixers plan to go center by committee in the absence of Joel Embiid

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CAMDEN, N.J.–The Philadelphia 76ers have a very tough situation on their hands as they get set to take on the Miami Heat in the Eastern semifinals. As they knocked off the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 of their Round 1 series on Thursday, Joel Embiid took a hit to the face and he now has an orbital fracture and a concussion.

The injury will keep Embiid out for at least Game 1 of this series and he could be out for even longer depending on how quickly he recovers from this injury.

For Philadelphia, the question is what will they do at center? They utilized Paul Reed as the backup in Round 1 while veterans DeAndre Jordan and Paul Millsap waited in the wings. With Embiid out, coach Doc Rivers says they will use those three as well as rookie Charles Bassey who has recovered from a right shoulder sprain.

“We are not gonna be shy with playing different guys,” said Rivers. “I know you guys wanna make a big deal about those first three minutes and whoever is announced in the starting lineup, it doesn’t matter to us. I’m just telling you that right now. We’re worried about the last six minutes. That’s gonna be the key for us in this series and it will be with anybody, but definitely now.”

Will Rivers really try and use all four guys?

“The one thing about Miami is if nothing else, they’re clever, and they are foul magnets,” he added. “So that’s a concern for us for two reasons. They shoot free throws well so we don’t wanna play a whole series in penalty and number 2, getting some of our guys in foul trouble because Bam (Adebayo) does a great job of that. Jimmy Butler may be the best at it in this series now without Joel and Kyle Lowry does it so we just have to be very smart in how we plan our bigs.”

With that being said, one just doesn’t replace a guy like Embiid. He led the league in scoring at 30.6 points per game and he threw the Sixers on his back more often than not. If it wasn’t for the big fella, there would be no success in Philadelphia.

“You can’t replace the MVP,” said Jordan. “He’s averaging 30 and whatever for the season and he’s extremely dominant. He has been during these playoffs, the first round, so it’s gonna be hard to replace that, but we’ll just have to pick it up by committee and everybody will be ready to go regardless of who it is. I’m sure we’ll all kinda see some time at some point, but hopefully, we’ll get him back as soon as possible.”

The good thing is that Embiid seems as if he is in good spirits despite the bad news.

“I think so,” said Jordan. “You can’t be negative about it. It’s unfortunate, but we gotta stay optimistic and positive that he’ll be back as soon as possible for our team, but we want him to be healthy though.”

This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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