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.

Watch: Dario Saric not pleased with more water, then remembers to Trust the Friendship

Watch: Dario Saric not pleased with more water, then remembers to Trust the Friendship

We thought T.J. McConnell learned.

Remember? Pouring water on Dario Saric is not a good idea?

Yeah, thought that was clearly understood after one Sunday in January.

But McConnell was at it again on Friday night after his buddy Saric poured in a career-high 32 points during a 117-107 win over the Bulls. Just like last time, McConnell struck during Saric's postgame interview with CSN's Molly Sullivan.

And, just like last time, Saric looked like he wanted to destroy his point guard.

Look at it unfold ...

But Saric remembered his mantra: Trust the Friendship.

For the postgame moment, watch below. For highlights from Saric's career night and the full interview, watch the video above.

More details emerge about NFL draft experience on the Ben Franklin Parkway in Philly

More details emerge about NFL draft experience on the Ben Franklin Parkway in Philly

Football fans have been pretty excited about the NFL draft coming to Philadelphia but details surrounding the event have been relatively scarce.

The Mayor of Philadelphia's office released more details this afternoon about what exactly will be going on in front of the Art Museum and along the Ben Franklin Parkway.

They had said previously that they expect a record-setting 200,000 fans through the experience.

Here are some of the highlights.

The fan festival activities will be FREE and last for three days along a half-mile stretch of the Ben Franklin Parkway. This will include "interactive exhibits, immersive games, and virtual reality experiences, free player autograph sessions and more."

Hours for the fan experience:

Thursday, April 27: 12 pm - 11 pm

Friday, April 28: 12 pm - 11 pm

Saturday, April 29: 10 am - 6 pm

In addition to the special fan fest experience, a number of the museums in the area will be offering special discounts or even free admission.

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University will offer free general admission during those three days of the draft will discounts on special exhibits. The Barnes Foundation will be closed on Thursday for a special event but will maintain normal business hours (10 am - 5 pm) on Friday and Saturday. The Franklin Institute will be open to the public from 9:30am-5pm during NFL Draft days (April 27-29).

There will be a plethora of road closures starting in phases as early as April 10th. The full extent of the road closures will begin on the 25th at 12:01 am and include the following:

21st Street closed from Winter Street to Spring Garden Street
     *   Local access to Pennsylvania Avenue only (all traffic must turn left)

  *   22nd Street closed from Race Street to Spring Garden Street
     *   Local access to Park Towne Place only (residents)

  *   23rd Street closed from Fairmount Avenue to Benjamin Franklin Parkway
     *   Local access only

  *   24th Street closed from Benjamin Franklin Parkway to Park Towne Place
     *   Local access only

  *   Martin Luther King Drive closed at Sweet Briar Drive.
     *   Road opened daily during peak AM rush hour on 4/27 & 4/28 (5AM-10AM) for access to I-676 via 24th Street

  *   Kelly Drive closed from Benjamin Franklin Parkway to Fairmount Avenue

  *   Spring Garden Street Bridge closed at 31st Street
     *   Road opened daily during peak AM rush hour on 4/27 & 4/28 (5AM-10AM) for access to I-676 via 24th Street
     *   Access to I-76 westbound will be maintained
     *   Local access to Art Museum will be maintained

  *   Spring Garden Street closed from 22nd Street to Benjamin Franklin Parkway
     *   Local access after peak AM rush hour

  *   Pennsylvania Avenue closed from Hamilton Street to Fairmount Avenue
     *   Local access after peak AM rush hour

  *   Pennsylvania Avenue/Callowhill Street closed from 20th Street to 21st Street
     *   Local access to Barnes Foundation driveway (westbound) only
     *   Eastbound open from 21st Street

  *   Park Towne Place closed from 22nd Street to 24th Street
     *   Local access only (residents)

  *   I-676 westbound 22nd Street off-ramp closed

From our previous post on what the Fan Fest experience will entail:

Among the NFL Draft Experience fan events:

·       Combine Corner – From racing against NFL players to running routes, fans can test their football and athletic skills at Combine Corner, which includes the Vertical Jump and 40-Yard Dash.

·       NFL Virtual Reality – Experience NFL games using virtual reality technology.

·       The Vince Lombardi Trophy – Fans will have the opportunity to take their photo with the Super Bowl trophy.

·       AFC & NFC Locker Rooms – Visit a replica NFL locker room as it appears on gameday. Experience the sights of an NFL pregame with sleek translucent LCDs.

·       NFL Museum (Pro Football Hall of Fame display area) – This exhibit features historical Eagles memorabilia, Super Bowl rings and Conference Championship trophies. Fans can get a digitalized Pro Football Hall of Fame bronze bust in their likeness.

·       College Football Corner – Fans can view College Football Hall of Fame memorabilia from former first round Draft picks and Eagles legends, and cheer on Draft prospects from their favorite college team. Life size player mannequins offer unique photo opportunities.

·       NFL Draft Experience Tailgate – Enjoy selections from some of Philadelphia’s best restaurants in a “taste of the town” tailgate.

·       NFL Network Set – Watch NFL Network analysts break down the NFL Draft.

·       ESPN Set – Check out SportsCenter LIVE from NFL Draft Experience.

·       NFL Shop at Draft – Stop by for the largest assortment of NFL Draft merchandise, including customizable Nike Jerseys and the official 2017 NFL Draft Cap by New Era and other exclusive Draft caps.

·       NFL Draft Set – Visit the official NFL Draft set from Thursday to Saturday and see the view from behind the podium.