According to the team's head coach, Joel Embiid will participate in the Sixers' upcoming two-game road trip and will practice on the road.

The nurse's injury updates on Embiid generally don't contain too many details, but this is clearly an important step in the superstar big man's rehabilitation from left meniscus surgery.

NBA bans Jontay Porter after gambling probe "Adam Silver" NBA bans Jontay Porter after gambling probe "Adam Silver"

The nurse noted that Embiid took part in the Sixers' practice and that it was a light workout.

"So we didn't actually practice, but he was at work today," the nurse said. "He was doing it against other players; it was kind of skill work with live bodies."

Other than Embiid saying he plans to play again this season, the Sixers did not provide a specific timetable for his return.

"I would love to give you one," Nurse said. "I would love to not have to continue this - which means he's playing again, right? I think it's coming again. But I see some growth here too. I think that's helping us.

"Yes, I want to put the best players we have on the pitch, there's no doubt about that. Give ourselves the best chance to win. But I'm ready to go to the drawing table and fight with the guys here to continue to improve and develop this group."

De'Anthony Melton (lumbar spine bone stress) and Robert Covington (bruised left hamstring) did not practice Thursday.

"Cov is making some progress," Nurse said Wednesday night before the Sixers' one-point loss to the Clippers. "It looks like he'll be able to come back here at some point. Again, I'm not sure. All these things are very similar. They put in a lot of work one day and you have to wait to see how he reacts, when they get back on track. But it is making some progress.

"The meltdown is probably not that close yet. It's still a matter of pain tolerance. But we're still hopeful that they'll both be back at some point before the end of the regular season."

The Sixers visit the Cavs on Friday night and the Raptors on Sunday. They enter the Eastern Conference in eighth place with a 39-34 record, a half-game behind the seventh-place Heat and 1.5 games behind the No. 6 Pacers.

Since Embiid's last start, almost every game has been a tough slog for the Sixers. In his absence, they are 10-17 and have only two double-digit wins.

It doesn't hurt to have the reigning MVP around the team and heading for a comeback.

"It could be a huge boost," Paul Reed said. "He's been our leader and our main guy all season long. I'm sure everyone will feed off his energy."

Without Embiid, there was no question who the Sixers' main man was. Tyrese Maxey stepped into that role, often facing assaults and increased physicality that topped all opposing scouting reports.

Maxey played 44 minutes in the Sixers' win over the Clippers on Sunday and their loss on Wednesday. His season average of 37.4 minutes ranks third in the NBA.

Does Nurse like these kinds of games where Maxey can hardly sit down?

"I'm not too bad about it," he said. "I don't think it has to happen every night, I think situationally, matchup-wise, with the team we play, it can happen. I would say it's going to be a similar situation in the playoffs soon, right? So get a couple of those under your belt. I think it varies a lot, too. Some nights whoever comes in for him goes on a little run and we can extend the timeout here and there.

"And I was definitely thinking about getting him one a couple times in the fourth (quarter) period, a few minutes here and there. I think that's part of where he is now... (Compared to) where he was a year ago, now he's somewhere else.

"Yeah, I like that. I think he's handling it well and I think he should continue to handle it well. I think it's going to make him better."