March 4, 2019 / 3:36 AM / 4 months ago

NBA notebook: Embiid nears return for 76ers

Joel Embiid has missed the last five games, but the Philadelphia 76ers star expects to return from a left knee injury sometime next week.

Mar 2, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) before playing against the Golden State Warriors at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The All-Star center also said if he had to play now, he could, but the team preferred he take a cautious approach — something he has resisted in the past. The 24-year-old is averaging 27.3 points and 13.5 rebounds in 54 games this season.

“Right now it’s all about preserving, all about the playoffs,” Embiid said to reporters. “I’ve said it in the past, but I’ve matured a lot. I’ve learned not to fight on stupid stuff. If the team wants me to rest, I’ll listen, and if I feel good, I’ll play. But if I need some rest, at the end of the day, it’s all about being healthy. I understand it.”

Philadelphia hosts the Orlando Magic on Tuesday, then plays at Chicago on Wednesday and at Houston on Friday before returning home to face the Indiana Pacers on Sunday.

—Seven-footer Andrew Bogut is reportedly nearing a return to the NBA after an award-winning season in his native Australia’s NBL.

The Golden State Warriors and 76ers are among “multiple contenders” interested in signing the 34-year-old center, The Athletic’s Shams Charania tweeted.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, Bogut played 13 seasons with five NBA teams from 2005-18 and averaged 9.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. His NBA career highlights include winning a championship with the Warriors in 2014-15 and making the All-NBA Third Team with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2009-10.

—Atlanta Hawks forward Omari Spellman has a high ankle sprain and will be re-assessed in about four weeks, according to NBA.com.

An MRI revealed the extent of the rookie’s injury, which occurred during a 168-161 four-overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls on Friday.

Spellman had rejoined Atlanta from the club’s G League affiliate in January and has played in 46 games for the Hawks this season with 11 starts. He has averaged 5.9 points and 4.2 rebounds in 17.5 minutes per game.

—The Phoenix Suns have signed rookie Ray Spalding for the remainder of the season, the team announced.

The 6-foot-10 forward initially signed a 10-day contract with the Suns on Feb. 21. He has not yet played in a game with Phoenix.

Spalding has averaged 15.9 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 1.6 steals in 29 games this season with the G League’s Texas Legends. The 21-year-old was the 56th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft by the 76ers before being traded to the Dallas Mavericks on draft night.

—Field Level Media

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