The Philadelphia 76ers continue to face the daunting challenge of trying to win games without reigning Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid.
It is not going to be easy.
The Sixers are 4-12 without Embiid and host the Atlanta Hawks on Friday.
Philadelphia has dropped three straight and seven of eight, including a lackluster 127-104 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.
Ricky Council IV scored a career-high 17 points for the Sixers and Kenyon Martin Jr. added 15. Tobias Harris and All-Star Tyrese Maxey combined for only 25 though Maxey had been questionable with an illness.
Embiid had surgery on the lateral meniscus in his left knee Tuesday and will be re-evaluated in about four weeks.
In addition to Embiid, the Sixers were missing a number of key players such as De’Anthony Melton, Danuel House Jr., Marcus Morris Sr., Robert Covington and Nicolas Batum.
House was among the players involved in deals at Thursday’s deadline.
The team was active at the deadline, according to multiple reports, acquiring Buddy Hield from the Indiana Pacers for Furkan Korkmaz and Morris, along with three second-round picks and cash consideration.
Philadelphia traded House to the Detroit Pistons to create cap space for a potential signing, and also moved guard Patrick Beverley to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for guard Cameron Payne and a 2027 second-rounder.
The Sixers then traded Jaden Springer, their 28th overall pick in the 2021 draft, to Boston for a second-rounder.
The challenge remains significant, however.
Somehow, the Sixers must find ways to win games and survive without Embiid.
The Hawks arrive in Philadelphia looking to snap a two-game losing streak.
Following a 149-144 setback to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, the Hawks fell 125-117 to the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.
Six players scored in double figures led by Saddiq Bey with 25. Trae Young, who was named as an All-Star replacement, added 20 points and 10 assists.
Young and the Toronto Raptors’ Scottie Barnes were named in place of Embiid and the New York Knicks’ Julius Randle.
Jalen Johnson had 19 points and 15 rebounds and Onyeka Okongwu contributed 19 points and 10 rebounds. Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 12 points and De’Andre Hunter chipped in with 10.
But it wasn’t enough.
The Hawks had won four in a row before the two latest losses to two of the top teams in the league.
The Hawks played without Clint Capela for the second straight game with a strained muscle in his left hip. It’s unclear if Capela will return to face the Sixers.