Sixers' Joel Embiid out for Game 1 vs. Celtics; Doc Rivers says he's done 'zero running'

Embiid out for Game 1 in Boston; Rivers says he's done 'zero running' originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

BOSTON — For the second consecutive season, the Sixers opened Round 2 of the playoffs without All-Star big man Joel Embiid.

The Sixers officially ruled Embiid out with a right knee sprain approximately 90 minutes before tipping off their second-round series Monday night against the Celtics at TD Garden. He’d been listed as doubtful throughout the day.

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Doc Rivers said he was unsure of Embiid’s chances to return for Game 2, which is set for Wednesday evening. According to the Sixers’ head coach, Embiid has not yet progressed to running, though he took jumpers after practice Sunday and following shootaround Monday in Boston.

“He shot today a little bit after (shootaround),” Rivers said. “That’s his first real court time, but there was zero running still.”

Rivers deferred to vice president of athlete care Simon Rice and the Sixers’ medical team on the question of what boxes Embiid would need to check before playing again, though he commented, “Just the basketball side, if we can get him on the floor to do something before he plays, I think that would be the wise thing to do. But we’ll see.”


As far as the Sixers’ on-court approach without Embiid, Rivers had more solid immediate answers. The Sixers went 11-5 in the regular season when their MVP favorite center sat, and Paul Reed, De’Anthony Melton and Tobias Harris were outstanding in the second half of the team’s Embiid-less win to eliminate the Nets from the playoffs.

“We open the floor up more,” Rivers said. “I think that’s clear. We try to get in the paint. We play more draw and kick. We go small at times with P.J. (Tucker) at the five. We play a lot of zone at times.

“So it’s the kitchen-sink mentality, honestly, but we do that pretty well. Our guys are willing to do it, and that’s a good thing.”

The Sixers on Monday started Reed in Embiid’s place. In an essentially identical spot last postseason, Rivers opted for DeAndre Jordan against the Heat with Embiid sidelined by an orbital fracture and concussion.