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Embiid, Harden ruled out vs. Nuggets, Jokic

Patrick McDermott / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Philadelphia 76ers ruled out star center Joel Embiid for Monday's clash against the Denver Nuggets and fellow MVP candidate Nikola Jokic.

Embiid reportedly worked out earlier Monday in an attempt to play, but Philadelphia elected to be cautious due to a busy recent schedule, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne.

The 76ers were also without star guard James Harden for the contest. Harden, who has an NBA-leading 10.8 assists per game, missed three straight contests due to Achilles soreness.

Philadelphia played six games in 10 days and is coming off a back-to-back on the road against the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns on Friday and Saturday.

Monday's showdown would have arrived at a climactic moment in the MVP race, in which Embiid and Jokic have established themselves as front-runners with little separation between them. The 76ers star recently overtook the Nuggets center as the odds-on favorite, though Jokic was favored to win his third straight MVP award for most of the regular season.

Embiid missed out on the second and final meeting between the Nuggets and 76ers this regular season. In their Jan. 28 encounter, Embiid posted one of his best games of the year, registering 47 points, 18 rebounds, five assists, three steals, and two blocks in a win for Philadelphia. Jokic, meanwhile, had 24 points, nine assists, eight rebounds, and two blocks.

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