Is Joel Embiid playing this afternoon? Latest injury update for Rockets vs. Sixers

Houston Rockets v Philadelphia 76ers
Houston Rockets v Philadelphia 76ers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

The Houston Rockets are currently on a six-game road streak and have gone 1-3 through the first four games, with their lone victory coming against the Detroit Pistons on Friday night. The Rockets have suffered defeats to the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls (in overtime) and the Boston Celtics. 

Next up on the calendar is a match against the Philadelphia 76ers, which is part of an action-packed Martin Luther King Jr. Day slate of games. Philadelphia has also gone 1-3 in their last four, with losses against the New York Knicks, Utah Jazz, and Atlanta Hawks.

The Sixers have been without superstar center and 2023 MVP Joel Embiid for the last three consecutive games, as he's been sidelined due to a left knee injury.

Joel Embiid's status for this afternoon's game against Rockets

Embiid has been upgraded to questionable for Monday's MLK Day match against Houston, and even practiced with the Sixers on Sunday, which was his first time doing so all week.

Sixers coach Nick Nurse stopped short of declaring Embiid healthy enough to suit up.

"We’re not ready to make a call on it yet. But we’ll see, probably as usual, pregame."

If Embiid doesn't play, the Sixers could be rather thin in the rotation, as De'Anthony Melton, Mo Bamba, and Robert Covington have also all been declared out for Monday's game. Embiid is also cutting it close as it pertains to his chances of winning MVP, as the league now requires players to play in at least 65 games in order to be eligible for any awards.

Embiid has already missed 10 games in Philladelphia's first 37 games and can only miss seven more in the final 45 games to have a shot at claiming the award for the second time. If I had to guess, I'd be surprised if he played. 

One practice within a week timespan seems like it wouldn't be enough. Furthermore, it's an early game (12 PM CST) so there's not going to be alot of time for Embiid to get loose and test his knee. But crazier things have happened.

For the Rockets, Tari Eason is the only player on the injury report, as Dillon Brooks made his return on Saturday night against the Boston Celtics. 

Eason has diagnosed him with left lower leg management, which has caused him to miss the last seven games consecutively.