Joel Embiid injury update: Sixers star questionable for Game 1 vs. Hawks

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Embiid listed as questionable for Sixers-Hawks Game 1 originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Joel Embiid was officially listed as questionable Saturday night for Game 1 of the Sixers' first-round series against the Hawks, which will tip off Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. 

Embiid, who has a small tear in the lateral meniscus of his right knee, participated in portions of the Sixers’ practices Friday and Saturday. He did not take part in any live action. 

“He did a little bit on the floor,” Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said after his team’s practice Saturday. “No live, I can say that today. He did what he could do.”

Rivers confirmed that Embiid sustained his injury during Game 4 of the Sixers’ first-round series against the Wizards. 

Before the Sixers’ series-clinching Game 5 win Wednesday over Washington, Embiid ran through his pregame routine on the Wells Fargo Center floor. His movement was not noticeably compromised. 

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Dwight Howard on Friday said Embiid “looked great” and “like his old self,” though he noted he didn’t want Embiid to rush back.

“We want to make sure we hold down the fort until he’s back,” Howard said.

Clint Capela, one of the NBA’s best interior defenders, starts at center for Atlanta. The Sixers are aware of the lob threat he poses, and they know star point guard Trae Young isn’t Atlanta’s only offensive weapon. 

“They’re obviously a great team who has a guard that can play in different areas — pick-and-rolls; three-point shooting; he can get downhill, as well,” Tobias Harris said. “He’s a big focal point for them. His speed is a major factor, as well. They’ve got really good guys that surround him, shooting-wise.

“You’ve got (Bogdan) Bogdanovic out there; you’ve got Clint Capela, who’s hustling and rebounding, creating extra possessions. For us, it’s got to be a full-focus type of series, and we need full-on efforts, night in and night out. But we have to impose our will from the start of this series. That’s something we know, and we’ll be ready for the challenge.”

Matisse Thybulle started in Embiid’s place Wednesday, with Harris beginning the night on Wizards center Daniel Gafford. In the event that Embiid is out, it appears Harris and Ben Simmons would be the most likely starting frontcourt for the Sixers. 

Embiid was the only Sixer on Saturday night's injury report.

Atlanta listed Brandon Goodwin (respiratory condition), Kris Dunn (non-COVID illness) and Cam Reddish (right Achilles soreness) as out. Small forward De'Andre Hunter, who started all five games for the Hawks in their series win over the Knicks, was listed as questionable with right knee soreness.