Joel Embiid is expected to miss the Sixers' next two games - a home-and-away set with the Toronto Raptors - as the big man continues to nurse a sore back, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Embiid has missed the team's past two games (losses to the lowly Bulls and Kings) due to the back.

This is rough news for the Sixers, who haven't been very good (just 1-6) without Embiid in the lineup this season and are in the midst of a really rough stretch (2-8 over their last 10 games).

After a hot start to the season, the Sixers have slid down the standings in the Eastern Conference - they're currently 10th - and pulling out a win against the red-hot Raptors (9-1 over their last 10 games) sans-Embiid will be a very tall task.

The good news for the franchise is that Embiid is expected to be good to go for the team's [nationally televised] Christmas Day tilt against the Knicks in New York.

The game against the Knicks - who are currently 8th in the East - will be a measuring stick of sorts.

"Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, sidelined with a sore back, could miss two more games this week but is expected to return for the Christmas Day meeting with New York, league sources told ESPN.

Despite the likelihood of resting his back for the remainder of the week, there's optimism that Embiid will be fit to face the Knicks on Monday, league sources said."

 

On the season, Embiid is averaging 24.1 points, 11 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game - in other words, he has been a monster. However, his bouncing in-and-out of the lineup has made it difficult for the Sixers to establish some rhythm from game to game as of late, and the team looks lost at times without him.

Clearly - until his health improves to the point that he can be counted on on a near-nightly basis - the Sixers need to figure out a formidable gameplan for when Embiid is out of the lineup, because what they've done so far this season hasn't worked.

 

Follow Michael Kaskey-Blomain on Twitter @therealmikekb.