Joel Embiid, T.J. McConnell out for Sixers' loss to Pelicans

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Monday, December 11, 2017

The 76ersdecided to sitJoel Embiidminutes before Philadelphia's 131-124 loss to thePelicanson Sunday because of stiffness in the 7-foot center's back.

Embiid was expected to play in New Orleans after sitting out Saturday night's loss to Cleveland to rest his surgically repaired knee.

"I tried to warm up earlier, but I couldn't," Embiid said after Sunday's game. "If it was the Finals, I'm sure I could have gone. But we got 82 games, and they don't want me to push if I'm not 100 percent, so that's what I did."

Embiid, who has averaged 23.5 points and 11.1 rebounds in 21 games, had offseason surgery for a torn meniscus in his left knee, and the Sixers have been limiting his playing time, including not playing him on back-to-back nights.

Embiid said he first felt the back soreness on Thursday during the Sixers' 107-104 loss to the Lakers.

"I felt it during the game. I got some treatment during the game, but after the game, it was pretty sore," Embiid said before adding that he is "feeling much better" and hopes to return for Philadelphia's game against the Timberwolves on Tuesday.

Philadelphia also held guard T.J. McConnellout with a left shoulder sprain.

The Sixers had already ruled out forward Robert Covington, who hurt his back while crashing over the first row of stands in an attempt to save a ball from going out of bounds Saturday in Cleveland.