Sixers have a lengthy injury list ahead of Tuesday’s game against Phoenix

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By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The Sixers first five “seeding games” at Disney have been anything but smooth. 

The victories have been closer than they should have been. The losses featured an opposing player scoring at least 50 points. And, the Sixers are anything but a healthy team as they head into the postseason. 

Monday’s official injury report, timestamped 5:30 p.m., includes five crucial 76ers who will likely not play Tuesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns:

  • Joel Embiid is out. Embiid injured his ankle in Sunday’s 124-121 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. The team said he was receiving treatment and an evaluation as of Monday evening. 
  • Josh Richardson is out for rest. 
  • Tobias Harris is listed as questionable for right ankle soreness. 
  • Al Horford is questionable for left knee soreness. 
  • And Ben Simmons is out for surgery on his left knee. The Sixers announced he had successful surgery to remove a “loose body” in his left knee that was counted by the partial dislocation of the patella against the Washington Wizards last week. Simmons will be rehabbing his knee in Philadelphia and receive a post-operative evaluation in about two weeks. He’s out indefinitely. 

That’s the entire original starting lineup from the beginning of the season. 

This could be a sign that the team is trying its best to balance staying sharp while remaining as physically healthy as possible. The latter — considering Embiid’s ankle and Simmons’ knee — has not been successful since entering the NBA’s Disney World campus. 

There are three seeding games left, starting Tuesday afternoon at 4:30, against a hungry Suns team. Then, Wednesday against the Toronto Raptors, and Friday versus the Houston Rockets. 

Head coach Brett Brown believes Embiid will play in at least one of the final two games before the postseason starts next week. 

“I do expect him to. That’s just one man’s opinion. Nobody’s doing cartwheels over it something severe,” he said. “I do believe it would be good for him to play before the playoffs begin.” 

Either way, Brown hopes his team’s defense — which he believes is taking a hit (along with their offense) with the loss of Simmons — will take strides forward this week, before the importance of games start to rise exponentially. 

“We really as a team have to do some things better than we currently do defensively to understand what it takes to win in the playoffs,” he said.

They will have a great test of that on Tuesday, as the Suns are a red hot 6-0 in the bubble as they try to fight their way into the Western Conference playoff picture. Phoenix is led by elite scorer Devin Booker, who has given Philadelphia fits in the past. 

The Sixers have given up 53 points to T.J. Warren and 51 to Damian Lillard since the season resumed. Booker is more than capable of doing the same.​