Brett Brown says he will review Joel Embiid's minutes restriction around Christmas

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown has pulled back the curtain on the process, so to speak, that his team will follow in extending rookie center Joel Embiid's minutes restriction.

The No. 3 pick out of Kansas in 2014, Embiid missed the entirety of both the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons because of a broken navicular in his right foot -- a bone that he broke two times.

Because of the 7-foot, 250-pound center's injury history, Philadelphia came into this season with a mandate from its medical staff to hold Embiid's minute count to 24 or below in any given game.

Brown said that plan will stay in place for at least the next six weeks.

"As I understand it, they will not escalate until Christmas and then it will only be judged," Brown said Saturday before the Sixers lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers 102-101. "It may stay the same then, too."

In the meantime, Brown said the Sixers will keep a short leash on Embiid, especially in back-to-back situations.

"There is always a judgment, a decision in relation to back-to-backs, but as a sort of a cut-off minute restriction, I believe that it's going to stay at 24 until Christmas," Brown said. "And then we'll judge that second third [of the season] after that first third ends. We'll judge that second third accordingly."

Come Christmas, the 76ers will have played 30 games.

"It sucks. I can only play 20 minutes," Embiid told reporters following his NBA debut. "I felt like I could play more, but you have to trust the process, you have to trust those guys."

Despite his limited playing time, Embiid came into Saturday leading all rookies in scoring with a 17.3-point average.

With the Sixers in a tight game down the stretch with Cleveland, Embiid actually broke through his minute cap ever so slightly, finishing with 22 points, six rebounds, four blocks, two assists and a steal in 25 minutes.

Sixers big man Jahlil Okafor also is on a 24-minute restriction as he recovers from a small meniscus tear in his right knee that he suffered last season.

Brown said that conditioning remains an issue for both Embiid and Okafor.

"As I watched him and we judge their fitness, I think at times going beyond 4- to 5-minute segments is not good for them," Brown said. "I feel like fatigue sets in, and given the amount of time that they've been able to play, practice, et cetera."

However, Brown was certainly appreciative of the chance to play his young big men in a limited fashion rather than see them sitting the night out completely to rest.

"That's more generous from our medical staff, and I'm thrilled to spend [the minute allotment]," Brown said. "I'm happy to spend it."