The Philadelphia 76ers have announced that Joel Embiid, NBA MVP finalist, will not be playing in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series due to a sprained LCL in his right knee. However, sources have told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that there is optimism surrounding Embiid’s potential availability for Game 2.
76ers coach, Doc Rivers, stated that Embiid shot some baskets after his shootaround, but he hasn’t done any running yet. However, he was seen getting up shots after the team’s practice on Sunday. Rivers also said that it’ll just be a matter of the doctors telling him that he’ll be available to play when asked what it will take for Embiid to get back on the court.
Embiid acquired the injury when he landed awkwardly after contesting a drive by Brooklyn Nets forward, Cam Johnson, in Game 3 of Philadelphia’s first-round sweep on April 20. Following the game, Rivers stated that it was “probably less than 50 percent” chance that Embiid would be ready to go for the start of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Despite the team being given additional rest days when the Atlanta Hawks pushed their first-round series with the Celtics to six games, giving the beginning of the series an extra few days, it wasn’t enough time for Embiid to get back onto the court. Philadelphia will now have to try to replicate its success throughout the season without Embiid, as the 76ers are now 12-5 without their superstar center after the Game 4 win over the Nets.
Both Rivers and Celtics coach, Joe Mazzulla, have stated that Philadelphia will play faster and spread the floor more with Embiid sidelined.
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