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Joel Embiid leaves game early, Sixers may be in trouble

The All-Star center was unable to return after injuring his ankle in Sunday’s game vs. the Trail Blazers.

Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers leaves the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Visa Athletic Center at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 09, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE: Matisse Thybulle started the second half in place of Embiid, so the small lineup with Harris at PF and Horford moving to C is in play.

Philadelphia 76ers C Joel Embiid left Sunday’s game vs. the Portland Trail Blazers in the first half and did not return due to an ankle injury.

Embiid played just six minutes, scoring two points with four rebounds before being forced to leave the game. This could be a huge blow to Philly if Embiid is forced to miss any time. The Sixers are already down Ben Simmons, who underwent knee surgery and is out indefinitely — possibly through the playoffs. Embiid’s injury may not be serious, but at this point Philly can’t afford to lose him for any amount of time. The seeding round finishes up this week and the playoffs start on Monday, August 17th.

The fantasy impact in the short term is big as well. We should see a lot of Al Horford at center and more Mike Scott and Kyle O’Quinn off the bench. The Sixers could shift Horford to center if Embiid misses any time and start Scott at PF as well. We could also see smaller lineups with Tobias Harris at PF. Harris figures to be the biggest benefactor with Simmons and Embiid off the court. He’ll likely be the go-to scorer and focus of the offense moving forward.