During a recent press conference, Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers stated that if he were a betting man, he would say that Joel Embiid is doubtful to play in at least Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal against the Boston Celtics. Rivers stated that the doctors examined Embiid and he didn’t do anything during the practice session.
Embiid’s Injury and Recovery
Embiid is dealing with a sprained LCL in his right knee that he suffered in Game 3 of Philadelphia’s first-round sweep of the Brooklyn Nets. Rivers stated that Embiid was unable to do anything during the practice session and he has to get better before he can play.
Embiid last played nine days ago, and he did not participate in practice along with others, including P.J. Tucker. If Embiid is unable to play in Game 1, the 76ers will focus on him returning on Wednesday for Game 2.
Contingencies in place
The 76ers are preparing for multiple contingencies. If Embiid is unable to play in Game 1, Paul Reed would likely step into the lineup in Embiid’s place. Reed was impressive filling in for Embiid in Philadelphia’s closeout win over the Nets in Brooklyn this past Saturday, putting up 10 points, 15 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, and a block in 32 minutes.
Reed stated that his performance gave him confidence that if Embiid is unable to play in Game 1, he will be able to step in and produce for the 76ers once again.
Expectations for the game
Whether Embiid is available or not, the 76ers still have to prepare to take on their blood rivals in the Celtics, a team they will be facing in the postseason for a 22nd time in the long and illustrious history of the franchises.
Rivers and Reed said playing the Celtics was the expectation all along, even as Boston gave the Sixers a couple of extra days for them to prepare and Embiid to rest by blowing a big fourth-quarter lead in Game 5 against the Atlanta Hawks. Rivers praised the Celtics for their depth and playoff experience, which he said will help them navigate the weeks ahead.
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