On Monday, Joel Embiid watched from the sideline as the Philadelphia 76ers lost Game 2 of their playoff series against the Miami Heat at home.
Frustrated with an orbital fracture that has sidelined him for weeks and missing what would be his first NBA playoff experience, Embiid lashed out on Instagram that he is “[expletive] sick and tired of being babied,” apparently feeling like he’s ready to play.
The 76ers announced bad news on that front Wednesday: Embiid isn’t likely to play in Thursday’s Game 3 in Miami.
Game 3 will be a big one with the 76ers already ceding home court advantage with Monday’s loss. Embiid has cleared concussion protocol, but the team and medical staff obviously don’t want to rush their young star back if there’s risk of any longer-term damage.
It’s a difficult balance pitting the team’s short-term goals of advancing past the Heat with long-term goals of keeping Embiid healthy and developing one of the most exciting young rosters in sports.
It’s disappointing for fans to watch him sit, but putting Embiid’s health first in this situation is the responsible decision for the team and one that Embiid would likely appreciate over time.
Just ask Kawhi Leonard.
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