NEW YORK -- Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid is listed as doubtful for Saturday's Game 4 in the Sixers' first-round series against the Brooklyn Nets, the NBA announced in its injury report Friday evening.
Embiid sat out Game 3, a dominant 131-115 win by Philadelphia to take a 2-1 series lead, with left knee soreness.
The status is a downgrade for Embiid, who was listed as questionable going into Games 1, 2 and 3, as he continues to deal with left knee tendinitis that caused him to miss 14 of the Sixers' 24 games after the All-Star break.
Embiid, after launching some casual 3-pointers while wearing slippers, laced up his sneakers and worked with a team trainer and assistant coach Monty Williams on a side court during the portion of practice that was available to the media on Friday.
The All-Star big man was a late scratch for Game 3 after finishing a warm-up about 30 minutes prior to tipoff. Sixers coach Brett Brown said that while the official word didn't come until late, he had a feeling that Embiid would sit out after playing a total of 45 minutes in Games 1 and 2.
"The timing of [Thursday], I always have sort of my gut feels of what's going to happen and judgment of how I really feel he's feeling and so on," Brown said. "It's born out of talking with Joel, really, and you obviously listen to our medical staff. And so I wasn't caught off guard [in Game 3] and as it relates to [Game 4], I don't know and I really don't have a gut feel.
"So, to me, it's always best to plan that you don't have him and be really surprised and happy when you do."
Brown doesn't have a gut feeling for Embiid's status
76ers head coach Brett Brown does not have a gut feeling about Joel Embiid's status for Game 4 and JJ Redick says it's tough to play without the Sixers' best player.
Earlier in the series, Brown explained his philosophy in managing Embiid's health.
"I think that my belief and shared with Joel and our management and owners and so on is we're in a phase, we're in a stage where we're buying time," Brown said. "Can we get a win and buy a few more days? Can we get another win and buy, like, a few more days? We might lose, but you're alive -- buy three more days. And so, this is just the path that we're on with Joel. There is zero doubt he is our crown jewel and just with the phase and stage and how it's played out, to my best ability, this is how I see the world nowadays. And that is Joel's path in my opinion."
Greg Monroe started in Embiid's place and contributed 9 points on 4-for-13 shooting, 13 rebounds, a block, a steal and an assist in 25 minutes.
"Had he finished like he usually does and [in Game 3] didn't and rebounded and defended like he did, you'd say, 'That's a hell of a performance,'" Brown said of Monroe. "I don't care if you're a backup center, you've been in the league regularly playing or you've been a journeyman the last five, six months, whatever. If he just finished some shots, which he will and is capable of, we'd all be talking about like, 'Wow, what an amazing pickup [general manager] Elton Brand pulled off.' And I still think it's a hell of a story and certainly [Thursday] it helped us win a playoff game, without Joel Embiid.
"I thought he was excellent [in Game 3] in so many areas and would have been just off the charts had he had finished."
Philadelphia will also rely on backup center Boban Marjanovic should Embiid be unavailable. The 7-foot-3 Marjanovic is enjoying a breakout postseason, averaging 14.3 points on 61.5 percent shooting and 6.3 rebounds through the first three games.
"I really enjoy it," Marjanovic said of his playoffs experience so far. "I really enjoy it with the guys. I have great coaches and great teammates and they really help with everything and to be around these people, it feels good."