Does Sixers' Joel Embiid need to protect himself better on the court?

Does Sixers' Joel Embiid need to protect himself better on the court?

There are a lot of words to describe Sixers center Joel Embiid. Amazing. Uncanny. Special.

Lately, a few others are coming to mind. How 'bout injury-prone? Scary? Reckless?

Embiid hasn't played in 11 of the Sixers' last 12 games, and at this point isn't expected to return until after the NBA All-Star break. That doesn't put him back in uniform until February 25, more than a month after sustaining what was once termed a "knee contusion."

No big deal. The Sixers' playoff push was a farce anyway, and rest and recovery are what's best for Embiid right now.

The real question we should probably be asking is not when will Embiid return, but what kind of player will he be once he's back? Because just watching him for one game is enough to make a serious examination as to whether he's going to continue to put himself and his career in jeopardy on a nightly basis.

Let's go back to the tape against the Rockets (we spliced video of these plays together in a clip above).

After winning the tip, Embiid takes the pass at the top of the key, drives to the basket and dunks OVER Nene on the Sixers' opening possession. The Wells Fargo Center roars in approval as Embiid lands awakwardly on his right leg and nearly comes crashing haphazardly to the hardwood.

In the second quarter, Embiid faces up Nene, cuts across the basket and lays the ball into the hoop, but does hit the deck this time, gingerly falling to the floor on the finish. Moments later at the other end, Embiid rushes into the corner to defend Sam Dekker's three-point attempt, only to wind up in the Rockets bench.

Then in the third, Embiid skies for an alley-oop from Dario Saric, yet is brought to the ground again — hard this time — when he's fouled by Patrick Beverly. Shortly after, Embiid chases down James Harden from behind and swats away the easy slam, only his knees appear to buckle on the way down.

Fourth period, Embiid is back in the front row on defense.

That was all from the last time Embiid played a game for the Sixers, and it turns out he had a torn meniscus at the time, the result of another ugly landing. Unfortunately, it's an all-too-common occurence to see the 7-foot-2 center make an uneasy touch down or on the floor, and ever prior to his latest injury, it was quite worrisome.

Keep in mind, we're talking about one of the faces of the Sixers franchise here, a 22-year-old who missed two full seasons already because of a foot problem — albeit a freak injury, but still concerning nonetheless. Of course we love the effort, yet at this rate, how long can his body withstand these types of beatings, night in and night out?

Obviously, asking Embiid to bring that energy level down by even a notch is easier said than done. He's not a certain 6-foot guard, though, nor should he be playing like such, especially at this stage of the Sixers' rebuilding process, when so little is on the line.

The style of playing honestly is at least a little reminiscent of Allen Iverson, in terms of the seeming total disregard Embiid shows for his body. He's captivating audiences like Iverson, too.

But Embiid isn't Iverson. Big men tend to break down easier to begin with, let alone those with a history of lower-body injuries. And few if any NBA superstars took the drubbings AI did with such regularity and were still great for very long.

Ultimately, it might be Embiid's responsibility to take better care to protect himself when he's on an NBA court. You could also make the case that it's the Sixers' imperative to impart this to him, if they haven't already.

Embiid's importance to the Sixers isn't vastly different than that of Carson Wentz's to the Eagles, and how do people react any time he's exposed to an unnecessary hit? Wentz is told to get out of harm's way all the time, and peppered with questions from the media roughly every other week there's a situation when he doesn't.

Watching Embiid play like a guard in a center's body is a legitimate thrill, and the degree to which you want to see him rein it in might vary. Yet up to this point, it's a concern that doesn't seem to be getting much attention, if it's been voiced at all. If anything, people want to know when the minutes and game restrictions will be lifted.

Until he starts to show some regard for his own safety on the court, the Sixers would be best served to continue putting limitations on Embiid. The organization can't protect him forever, but until he learns to protect himself, maybe they should continue doing what they can.

Trust the … lego? Reddit user reveals Lego version of Joel Embiid

Trust the … lego? Reddit user reveals Lego version of Joel Embiid

He calls himself "The Process."

He is a main piece of The Process.

And now there's a Lego version of The Process' poster child.

Yes -- thanks to Redditor user dweg1999 -- we have a picture of what Joel Embiid would look like if, yes, he was built of Legos.

After sitting out his first two years in the NBA because of injuries, Embiid burst onto the scene and became an instant star for the Sixers. A piece they can build around both on the court and off it. He's charismatic who knows how to use social media.

Embiid is a special blend of greatness on the court and marketable off it. If he can stay healthy -- his season was cut short because of another one and he will be limited again in 2017-18 -- the Sixers have their guy to build around. Add in a Ben Simmons, a more experienced Dario Saric, potentially two more lottery picks -- at least one more -- and next season will be a whole lot of fun.

But for now, as we wait for the May 16 draft lottery, we are stuck checking out Lego versions of Joel Embiid. If only we were that good with Legos ourselves.

Christian McCaffrey reportedly outscores Dalvin Cook on Wonderlic

Christian McCaffrey reportedly outscores Dalvin Cook on Wonderlic

The Wonderlic scores for two running backs who have been linked to the Eagles have surfaced. 

Per Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Christian McCaffrey scored a 21 out of 50, and Dalvin Cook scored an 11.

The top score in McGinn’s report was held by Tennessee's Alvin Kamara, who notched a 24. Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon scored a 12 and LSU’s Leonard Fournette shared a score of 11 with Cook.

The average score for a running back, according to renowned football writer Paul Zimmerman, is 16.

The Wonderlic test, a 50-question multiple choice test that measures cognitive ability and problem solving, is given to NFL prospects every year at the combine. Of course, the score doesn't measure how successful a player is on the field. Per Jeff Reynolds of CBS Sports, Jets' QB Ryan Fitzpatrick scored a 48, which is higher than Tom Brady (33), Aaron Rodgers (35) and Hall of Famer Dan Marino (15).

Per Sports Illustrated, Pro Bowler Frank Gore and Adrian Pederson had scores of six and 16, respectively. 

Test scores aside, you’ll have to tune in Thursday at 8 p.m. to see if the Eagles will even draft a running back at 14 overall. Or head down to Philadelphia and see it in person (parking is free).