Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid is set to miss one of the NBA's highly anticipated Christmas Day derbies as he deals with a sprained ankle suffered during Friday's game against the Toronto Raptors. The Sixers were scheduled to face the Miami Heat, but he won't be making the trip.
It's the fourth road game against playoff teams the MVP candidate has missed this season, raising questions about his approach to challenging road games. There has been speculation among analysts that Embiid may be strategically choosing to sit out tough road games, especially against teams boasting quality centers.
Despite this, he has been incredible this season, leading the league with an impressive 35 points per game, along with 11.7 rebounds and 6 assists. His outstanding performances in December, averaging 40.2 points and 12.6 rebounds, put him as a strong candidate to win the MVP title.
Very interesting games are on the NBA Christmas schedule
Embiid's absence will be felt during the Christmas showdown against the Miami Heat, depriving the league's leading scorer and potential MVP of a matchup. On the other hand, the Heat may also be without their star Jimmy Butler, who missed the previous two games with a calf strain and did not practice on Sunday.
The NBA Christmas lineup promises exciting matchups, including the red-hot Milwaukee Bucks against the New York Knicks, the Denver Nuggets taking on the Golden State Warriors, and a classic rivalry between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics.
While Embiid's injury adds an element of uncertainty to the Sixers' matchup against the Heat, basketball fans can still look forward to seeing other NBA stars in action on the holiday. The absence of Embiid means that the duel between Philadelphia and Miami will be the only one in this program without a potential MVP award winner.
Giannis Antetokounmpo will play in the Knicks-Bucks match, the Nuggets-Warriors duel will feature Nikola Jokic and Steph Curry, the Lakers-Celtics derby will showcase LeBron James, and the Suns-Mavericks clash will offer Kevin Durant.