The Philadelphia 76ers wrapped up their six-game road trip last week and finally reunited with their four-time All-Star center, Joel Embiid. As the Sixers traveled to the Big Apple, then out West, and back to the Midwest before returning home, they allowed Embiid to stay at home and rehab his injured knee.
Although he wouldn't come outright and say Embiid would stay home throughout the entire trip, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers hinted that Embiid's likely return wouldn't come until this past weekend.
On Saturday, it finally happened. Joel Embiid took the court for the first time in over three weeks to face the Minnesota Timberwolves. Before the game, Rivers mentioned that the questionable center wouldn't see any more than 35 minutes of playing time if he was cleared for action against Minnesota.
About an hour later, the 76ers activated Embiid for the first time in 10 games, and the big man started against Karl Anthony-Towns and the T'Wolves. As expected, Embiid's minutes were restricted. As most of the starting lineup clocked in for over 30 minutes, Embiid played for 28.
After his 24-point showing in the win over the Wolves, Embiid mentioned that his body felt good. However, neither Embiid nor Rivers knew whether the big man was going to play in Sunday's matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies or not.
While some held out hope for the big man to participate in the back-to-back, Embiid was ruled out relatively early on Sunday afternoon. The good news is he didn't suffer any setbacks. Instead, the 76ers just labeled his status as "injury management."
“His first game back was [on Saturday],” Rivers said on Sunday evening. “I would say, any player, not just Joel, any player who’s been out for three weeks and plays in a game, you probably don’t play them on the next night. It’s just smart. This one is pretty simple. I don’t think this is a hard decision for any of us. All the other ones, we go by game by game and day by day, but this one didn’t take a lot of thought.”
The Sixers will travel on Monday for a Tuesday night game against the Boston Celtics. Following Sunday's matchup at home, it was too early to estimate whether Embiid will take the court in Boston or not. Seeing as though he didn't suffer any setbacks and will get two days off by the time Tuesday comes around, there's a good chance Embiid will play against the Celtics.