Barring any setbacks in his injured right knee, Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid is on his way back to the lineup for Wednesday’s second round game against the Boston Celtics, league sources said. the athlete. Here’s what you need to know:
- “I’m back,” league sources said. the athlete.
- Embiid originally suffered what the team called a sprained right knee on April 20 during Game 3 of the 76ers’ first round series against the Brooklyn Nets. He’s missed the 76ers’ last two playoff games — Game 4 against Brooklyn in the first round and Game 1 against Boston on Monday — due to an injury.
- Embiid was initially listed as questionable to return in Game 2, according to league sources the athlete The injury is considered more serious than a grade 1 LCL sprain.
Embiid’s durability has always been a concern. The Sixers star missed his first two NBA seasons due to complications from a broken scaphoid bone in his right foot and has missed an average of 23 games in the seven seasons since. He also missed at least one playoff game in five of his six postseason games, though his absence from the first two games of last season’s second-round series against the Miami Heat was due to a concussion and a fractured right orbit.
The 76ers lead the series against the Celtics 1-0 after winning Game 1 on the road Monday. Embiid’s running mate James Harden led the way with 45 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer on Al Horford.
Can the Sixers take complete control of this series now?
Having stolen the home field advantage in Game 1, the Sixers are playing on little home money tonight in Boston. With the win, they took complete control of the series. But even if they lose, they will return to a bustling environment in Philly. It remains to be seen what Embiid looks like upon his return, but if he’s anywhere near his natural self, the Sixers now have a much greater chance of making another game in Boston. – Rich Hoffman
What Sixers fans should watch with Embiid
I will keep my eyes on two things. The first is how he moves because Boston has people that play a five attack and have him cover a lot of ground on the defensive end. Embiid should solve some defensive woes for the Sixers — it was Boston’s punting line early in Game 1 where they shot more than 70 percent from the field in the first half — but Horford and the Celtics usually countered to protect Embiid’s edge with shooting.
The second thing is how much Embiid plays. It had been nearly two weeks since his last match. Backup center Paul Reed is usually called upon to play 10 minutes per game with a healthy Embiid, but could that number be closer to 20 on Tuesday? It can take Embiid a few games to regain his conditioning even under the best of circumstances, while Reed has done well under pressure.
The Celtics’ Game 1 loss looms even larger now
Once upon a time, the Celtics were able to tie Embiid as well as any team. This has not been the case for a while. He averaged 36.8 points per game against Boston this season with a stunning 52-point performance (on 20-of-25 shooting) late in the campaign. Will he be able to reach this level coming back from a knee injury? How effective is it?
Even when Embiid is healthy, the Celtics challenge him on the defensive end of the field with Horford’s ability to shove the ground. If the Embiid has a problem closing in on the perimeter, Boston could potentially take advantage of that. But he is the best player. It will put a heap of pressure on their defense, which hasn’t bothered their opponents nearly enough over the last five games. His return early in the series is a big reason the Celtics regret failing to tackle Game 1 when he was still sidelined with a knee. – Jay King
How does Boston’s strategy change now?
The 76ers’ game plan without Embiid worked as well as they hoped in Game 1, so how do things change with his return? Boston’s offense was looking to get as deep in the paint as it could against Reed and PJ Tucker in Game 1. The Celtics were using all kinds of back cuts while pushing in transition to expose the Philly defensive line. They can’t sneak behind the defense when Embiid is out, assuming he can move.
Embiid will give them room to pull it over and shoot, so Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will have to secure their shot in a way they haven’t been able to consistently do this season. They must force the Embiid out of the paint and make it move sideways. This is the biggest weakness for someone with a sprained knee. The more Boston can get him out of his comfort zone on defense, the better chance of tying him up when he does have the ball. – Jared Weiss
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Jay King, Weiss, and Hoffman: Celtics-Sixers preview: Can the 76ers survive Joel Embiid’s injury? Predictions and more
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(Photo: Mitchell Leaf/Getty Images)
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