After missing the last three weeks with a knee injury, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid will return to the lineup later this week. According to Shams Charania, Embiid is expected to be available on Saturday when the Sixers welcome the Minnesota Timberwolves to town.
The update is welcome news for the star big man who suffered a frightening injury in Philadelphia’s March 12 game against the Washington Wizards. Thankfully, an MRI showed no damage to his ACL and meniscus and he was diagnosed with a bone bruise.
Prior to the injury, Embiid was in the midst of an MVP-caliber season, averaging 29.9 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. He led the Sixers to the top spot in the Eastern Conference and looked like he’d made another leap in his fifth full season in the NBA.
After a few weeks off, Embiid will need a few days to get back up to game speed. The Sixers have 24 games left in the regular season before they set their sights on a playoff run.
76ers star Joel Embiid (knee) is expected to return on Saturday vs. Minnesota, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Barring any setbacks, the MVP candidate is back in lineup Saturday after missing three weeks.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 1, 2021
In Embiid’s absence, the 76ers were able to maintain their early season success. Philadelphia (32-15) currently sits in a tie for first-place in the Eastern Conference with the Brooklyn Nets.
Although the 76ers were one of the most consistent teams in the earlygoing, the organization’s front office didn’t stay complacent at the trade deadline. The team acquired veteran point guard George Hill from the Oklahoma City Thunder, adding depth. The 34-year-old underwent surgery on Feb. 2 to repair damage in his right thumb and Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said the team is in no rush to get him back.
“He’s still doing some rehab work,” Rivers told NBC Sports Philadelphia. “We want him to get through it. We’re not going to force him back or push him back. He’s been out for a good six, eight weeks. Even when he’s cleared to play, conditioning is a factor. He’ll be with us, though, once we return back from the Cleveland game.”
Once the Sixers have Embiid and Hill back on the court, they’ll be in good shape to compete for an Eastern Conference title.