The Philadelphia 76ers have fared well without Joel Embiid after the NBA All-Star break, but they are beginning to miss him a bit. In the following seven games since he injured his knee against the Washington Wizards, the Sixers won six games.
However, in the last two matchups against the Los Angeles Clippers and the Denver Nuggets, the 76ers looked depleted at times, and a lot of that can be attributed to Embiid's absence on the court.
At this point, it's apparent that Embiid won't join the Sixers until after their current six-game road trip. Therefore, he'll miss Thursday's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers as well. And while it seemed for a second that Embiid just might return in Saturday's game at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers admits he isn't so sure about that.
Following a rare practice session on Monday, Doc Rivers hinted that the Sixers could be back to having their "regular rotation" on Saturday. Many seemed to believe he was hinting at Embiid's possible return to the floor. But when asked about his statement again on Tuesday night ahead of the Denver matchup, Rivers made it clear that he can't guarantee when Embiid will be back in action.
"I have no idea,” Rivers admitted in regards to Embiid's timeframe. “He’s close. I can tell you that. He’s working every day, and I get reports back daily, and he looks good. He’s doing well." According to a team source, Embiid has resumed basketball-related activities this past weekend. At this point, the four-time All-Star is beginning to ramp up his conditioning as well, as he continues to progress through his rehabilitation program.
“He has to clear certain medical steps,” Rivers explained. “I don’t even know what those are, but he has to. Then the other thought with us, and the way I’ve always tried to do it, if you can come back and just keep playing, then you’re healthy. But if you can come back and play one game or two games and then have to sit, then you’re not ready yet, if you know what I’m saying. We want to make sure when Joel comes back, he’s back. Not in and out, and I think that’s very important.”