The Philadelphia 76ers weren't sure if Joel Embiid would get the green light to play in Sunday's Game 1 matchup against the Atlanta Hawks. Ever since injuring his knee last Monday in the Game 4 matchup against the Washington Wizards in the first round, Embiid's status moving forward was unclear.
After leaving last Monday's game in Washington with knee soreness, Embiid underwent an MRI the following morning. As his imaging results were passed around to several specialists, the Sixers ruled Embiid as doubtful going into Game 5 against the Wizards without an official diagnosis.
Hours before the matchup, the team ruled him out officially as he was noted to be dealing with a small meniscus tear. Seeing any type of tear in the knee is never a good sign, but Embiid's issue wouldn't require surgery. To make matters better, Philly's medical team considered him day-to-day after receiving the MRI results.
Going into Sunday's Game 1 matchup of the second round, Embiid was questionable. Less than two hours before the game, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers considered Embiid to be a game-time decision. After going through his normal pregame warmup routine, the Sixers quickly activated Embiid and inserted him into the starting lineup.
Although he played on Sunday -- and played extremely well -- Embiid admitted that playing on a torn meniscus is difficult. The 76ers dropped the first game against the Hawks at home on Sunday afternoon to make matters worse.
“Playing on a torn meniscus is, I guess, not easy," Embiid said after the loss. "It’s alright. I just gotta keep managing it and hope for the best.” The Sixers have the day off from physical activities on Monday before returning to the court for Game 2 on Tuesday. While Embiid won't reach one-hundred percent anytime soon, Doc Rivers detailed the plan for the big man over the next 48 hours.
“Tons of treatment, tons of rest," Rivers explained. "I checked with him probably five different times during the game, and he kept saying, ‘I feel great.’ I didn’t like him in when we were trapping and running around in that last three minutes, and obviously, we made a run. I did not like him on the floor at that point because I didn’t want him doing those things, to be honest. That’s why we told him to just stand back because those are the ones you get injured on. Other than that, I thought he played in a space he was safe.”
As expected, Embiid's status ahead of Tuesday's game is currently unknown. While the big man indicated he's feeling fine following Sunday's game, the Sixers are taking it one step at a time. Considering he avoided any setbacks in Game 1, there could be a good chance Embiid plays on Tuesday night, too. However, it's too early to tell at this point. His status will all come down to how he responds to treatment on Monday.