Philadelphia 76ers

Embiid and Butler both out for Sixers-Heat Christmas matchup

The Sixers and Heat will each be shorthanded Monday night.

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Joel Embiid won't feature for the Sixers in their Christmas matchup against the Heat in Miami. 

Both Embiid (right ankle sprain) and usual Sixers starting forward Nicolas Batum (right hamstring strain) will miss Monday night's game. De’Anthony Melton is set to return from a left thigh contusion. 

Mo Bamba (illness) and Robert Covington (right knee effusion) were listed as probable. New two-way contract signing Kenneth Lofton Jr. is expected to be available vs. Miami, according to Sports Illustrated’s Justin Grasso.

Embiid injured his ankle in the first quarter of the Sixers’ win Friday over the Raptors. He remained in the game and ultimately posted 31 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists despite showing clear signs of discomfort. 

A Sixers official said Embiid will continue to receive daily treatment and that his status is not yet determined for the team’s Wednesday meeting with the Magic. 

Embiid’s level of play has not declined whatsoever following his MVP season last year. Since returning from an illness in early December, he has averaged 40.2 points on 60.6/42.3/92.1 shooting splits, 12.6 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.1 blocks. The Sixers have gone 8-1 during that stretch and are 20-5 overall this season when Embiid’s played. They’re 0-3 without him. 

Paul Reed and Marcus Morris Sr. are potential starting options for the Sixers in Embiid’s place. With Batum out the past two games, Kelly Oubre Jr. has slid back into the starting lineup. Sixers head coach Nick Nurse has given Danuel House Jr. significant minutes off the bench in Batum’s absence, too.

Three former Sixers will be sidelined for the Heat, including six-time All-Star Jimmy Butler.

Miami officially downgraded Butler (left calf strain), Haywood Highsmith (head cold) and Josh Richardson (back spasms) to out on Monday afternoon.

The Heat improved to 17-12 by beating the Magic and Hawks in their last two games without Butler. Tyler Herro scored 30 points and Duncan Robinson had 27 vs. Atlanta. 

Impressive Miami rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. started both of those wins and tallied 19 points and seven rebounds Friday night against the Hawks. He's the only player to have appeared in every Heat game thus far.

Tobias Harris and Reed are the two Sixers who haven't missed a game yet.

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