Sixers assess Joel Embiid’s return, uncertain if he’ll play vs. Grizzlies

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Ky Carlin
·3 min read
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The Philadelphia 76ers were able to have Joel Embiid back on the floor on Saturday night for the first time since March 12 when he suffered a bone bruise against the Washington Wizards. The Sixers went 7-3 in the 10 games he sat, but obviously, they would like to have their superstar big man back on the floor.

Embiid had 24 points and eight rebounds in a 122-113 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves as he looked right at home. He got to the foul line 17 times, making 12 of them, and he was able to get right back at it with the fans at the Wells Fargo Center.

The only blemish is he had four turnovers and he lost the ball a few times, but that is to be expected.

“I thought he played okay, you can see the rust,” said coach Doc Rivers. “We turned the ball over a little, didn’t execute very well down the stretch of the game. I thought part of that is he probably didn’t even remember half of it. We won the game. I wasn’t thrilled how we played. It was one of those sloppy, ugly games. We had so many chances up 20 to put the game away we just refused to do that tonight.”

Embiid agreed with his coach that he did not exactly have the most efficient or dominant game that we have grown accustomed to seeing from him.

“Obviously a great win, but I had a bad game,” he acknowledged. “I’m just trying to get my rhythm back and just get back in the groove and help these guys offensively and defensively and to win some games.”

Embiid did not play a lot of minutes, just 29 at the end of the day, but a lot of them were stressful minutes as the Timberwolves made it a game. The endurance level could be a factor in his tough game.

“It was tough,” Embiid explained. “Yesterday (Friday) was really the first time I kind of went full-court since I got hurt. So it’s gonna take a while to get back to myself, but my body feels great. Obviously, game shape is different than how your body feels, but the main thing is, my body feels great and I just got to keep putting up these games and these practices and I’ll be back to where I was before I got hurt.”

Still, having Embiid return and play out there is a huge lift to a team in the middle of a title race at the moment.

“It was good to have him back out there,” said Tobias Harris. “He told us he didn’t want to dunk today, but then he went up there and dunked it with two hands. Game after game, he’s going to get his wind up and continue to get his confidence and his legs under him, but it was awesome to have him out there.”

Considering the Sixers play again on Sunday with a back-to-back, it remains to be seen if he will take on the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday.

“I don’t know about tomorrow,” said Rivers. “We were going to wait and see how today went, but we will be more cautious than aggressive I can tell you that. That means he will not play or play.”

This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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