Joel Embiid had a goal of making it to the NBA Playoffs healthy this season. Although he's had some setbacks along the way in the regular season, the Philadelphia 76ers big man made it to Game 1 of the first round fully healthy.
Through Philly's first three postseason matchups against the Washington Wizards, Embiid helped the Sixers achieve a 3-0 lead. When the fourth game rolled around, though, he hit a bit of a roadblock.
During the first quarter of the Game 4 matchup against the Wizards, Embiid took a hard fall. On his way down from a tough layup, he buckled his knee before hitting the ground. What originally looked like a back injury turned out to be knee soreness.
A few minutes later, Embiid went back to the locker room and wouldn't return for the rest of the game. With an MRI scheduled the following morning, the Sixers seemed optimistic their four-time All-Star wasn't dealing with anything significant.
Although his diagnosis wasn't anything that would require surgery, Embiid's MRI results revealed a torn meniscus in his knee. He was listed as doubtful for Game 5 against the Wizards and eventually downgraded to out.
Fortunately for the Sixers, they managed to close the series out against the Wizards with a victory without Embiid, advancing to the second round. Going into Game 1 of the second round, the Sixers weren't sure about Embiid's status.
Despite practicing with the team last Friday and Saturday, the Sixers never allowed Embiid to go through any live-action. Hours before Sunday's game, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers considered the big man a game-time decision.
After going through pregame warmups, Embiid was quickly activated and inserted into Philly's starting lineup. While he admitted it was difficult to play with his injury, Embiid had himself a stellar game as he checked in for 38 minutes and accounted for 39 points in Sunday's loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
While Embiid didn't suffer any setbacks, he's still viewed as questionable heading into Tuesday night's Game 2 matchup against the Hawks. At this point, Embiid will likely be considered a game-time decision for a good portion of the playoffs as long as the Sixers are alive. While his questionable status is a promising sign, there's no guarantee Embiid is cleared for action on Tuesday.