76ers’ Joel Embiid suffers calf injury in blow-out win over Bulls

Philadelphia 76ers star centre Joel Embiid. (Matt Slocum/AP)

CHICAGO (AP) — Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid left Wednesday night’s 116-91 victory over the Chicago Bulls with mild right calf tightness.

Embiid, one of the front-runners for the NBA MVP award, finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in just over 16 minutes of playing time. The 7-foot center said the move was precautionary.

“Like I always say, it’s all about the playoffs, trying to make sure we get there healthy,” he said. “We’re just going to see how it goes the next few days.”

The 29-year-old Embiid said he first felt the calf tightness during Monday night’s double-overtime loss to the Bulls. Then he felt it again in the first half Wednesday in Chicago.

Philadelphia (49-23) visits Golden State on Friday night for its next game. Embiid said he likely will be able to play against the Warriors, but isn’t exactly sure how the injury would react.

“If it feels good, of course I will want to play,” he said. “But if it’s not right, then we’re going to figure it out.”

Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers called Embiid’s injury “very mild.”

“We just felt like (keeping him out) was the right thing to do,” Rivers said.

Star guard James Harden and forward Jalen McDaniels missed Wednesday night’s win with injuries. Harden was sidelined by left Achilles soreness, and McDaniels was ruled out because of right hip soreness.

Harden played almost 47 minutes during Monday night’s loss to the Bulls, finishing with five points on 2-for-14 shooting and 12 assists. He is averaging 21.4 points and an NBA-high 10.8 assists in 53 games this season.

Rivers said he thinks Harden will be able to play against Golden State.

“We’ve gone into the playoffs two years in a row with injuries,” Rivers said. “We all know you don’t win in the playoffs if your key guys aren’t healthy. Period. And so we’re going to do whatever we can to be healthy.”

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