The Philadelphia 76ers took home game one Saturday by a score of 130-103 over the Miami Heat, and did so with one of their best players in the Joel Embiid.
Embiid has been out of the lineup due to a broken orbital bone and a concussion.
“If it was my decision, I would play, but I can’t get back out on the court if I don’t have the OK from them,” Embiid said. “But everything has been going well. I’ve been able to do everything. And I feel great. So we got a pretty good chance for Game 2 or Game 3. We gonna see how it feels in the next couple of days.
“I got to do some contact stuff and see how it feels, and then they are going to allow me to be back. I did a little bit today, kind of like dummy defense — not really contact but, like, a body on me.”
Embiid has been upping his on court reps as the playoffs have approached, but says that he has to prove that he can absorb contact before e officially returns to the court.
The injury was sustained on March 28 by running into teammate Markelle Fultz. Embiid missed the last eight games of the season, which were all victories for the 76ers.
Embiid also added that he has lost some weight since he first sustained the injury.
“I was 280-something, and I’m, like, 275 right now, which is surprising because usually when I’m out, I gain weight,” Embiid said. “I think it has to do a lot with body mass.”
Embiid worked out for 30 minutes before Saturday’s game where he wore a black face mask, which he prefers over the clear face mask.
“The white, clear mask is kind of harder, visibility-wise. It gets foggy and all that,” Embiid said. “[But] we still gotta get the league to approve the black mask. There’s a few options, so we gonna see how that goes.”
The 76ers appear to be catching their stride at a perfect time, even without Embiid in the lineup. Of course, it would help to have him back, but they are doing everything they need to right now to make a deep playoff run.