When Joel Embiid went down with a knee injury during Game 4 of the first-round series against the Washington Wizards, the city of Philadelphia held its breath. Meanwhile, the Sixers led everybody to believe the All-Star was just fine.
While Embiid was diagnosed with a torn meniscus after receiving an MRI the following day, the setback wouldn't require surgery. Embiid missed Philly's Game 5 matchup against the Wizards, but they managed to advance to the next round without him.
When Game 1 of the second-round series against the Hawks approached, Embiid was questionable. However, he did play. Despite being listed as questionable in every matchup since Game 1, Embiid has been present for the Sixers and doing a solid job.
But after the way he looked in Game 4, there was some level of concern. In the second half of Monday's matchup, the Sixers lost a double-digit lead. Then, as they tried to run the offense through Embiid, the big man missed all of his 12 shots from the field, including the possible game-winner.
"I just didn't have the lift," Embiid admitted on Monday night. "I thought I got fouled too. Usually, I would go up, especially for a bucket like that, trying to dunk it. [I would] try to get fouled and get an And-1. Like I said, I wasn't able to jump for obvious reasons. It's tough, but now we gotta think about Game 5."
As expected, the trend of Embiid being listed as questionable continues ahead of Game 5. In the previous few matchups, there was hardly any doubt he wouldn't play. Considering how he looked in the second half of Monday's game, that could raise some concerns. According to Doc Rivers, though, there's no reason to be alarmed.
“I have no more [concern]," Rivers said following Tuesday's film session. “I really don’t. Listen, we walk on the floor, and we’re good. We wouldn’t put Joel out there if he couldn’t play. Obviously, he’s not going to be exactly what it was all the time with the injury, but I’ll take what we have. So I have no concern.”
Is that a guarantee Embiid is good to go for Wednesday's game? Not exactly, but it's a promising sign either way. The four-time All-Star will still have to go through multiple shootarounds throughout the day on Wednesday to test his knee and see how it's feeling, but based on Rivers' latest update regarding the star center, it sounds like there's little level of concern for Embiid going into the next outing.