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Joel Embiid's journey getting back on the court has been a difficult one. As the All-Star center became the fourth member of the Sixers to test positive for COVID-19 a few weeks back, he was expectedly entered into the NBA's health and safety protocol.

Sometimes, players who test positive are asymptomatic. Other times, they feel the effects of the virus, whether the symptoms are severe or not. When speaking about Embiid's status on the day he was entered into the protocol, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers revealed that Embiid wasn't handling the virus too well.

"He's not doing great," said Rivers a few weeks back in regards to how Embiid is feeling. "He's struggling with it, very similar to Tobias. So, you know, it's all I can tell you." Embiid went on to miss three-straight home games for the Sixers.

Then when the team left and started up a six-game road trip, Embiid wasn't cleared to travel early on. Although he did return to the Sixers' practice facility to ramp up action while the Sixers were in the midst of their road trip, Embiid never traveled to join the team. Therefore, he missed all six road games, making it nine-straight matchups he sat out due to the virus.

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After finally re-joining the team for a hefty 45-minute shift on Saturday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Embiid discussed his battle with COVID-19 publicly for the first time since he's been cleared out of the NBA's health and safety protocol.

"It hasn't been good," said Embiid on Saturday. "That jawn hit me hard. I really thought I wasn't gonna make it. It was that bad. So, I'm just thankful to be sitting here. I struggled with it, but I'm just glad that I got over it and I'm just here doing what I love with some good people."

Easing Embiid back into the swing of things seemed like a logical option for the Sixers. Although many would guess Embiid would have a minutes restriction for Saturday's game, the team let him loose. 

The positive sign is that Embiid isn't being held back after returning. As the Sixers submitted their injury report for Monday night's matchup with the Orlando Magic, Embiid was left off of it, signaling that he's good to go once again. 

He could see limited minutes after playing a ton on Saturday. Still, the fact that he's playing consecutive games after missing nine-straight games is a positive sign for his physical health and his conditioning. 

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.