Fortunately, he did that. Heading into the first-round series against the Washington Wizards, Embiid wasn't dealing with any setbacks. Through the first three matchups against Washington, Embiid entered and exited those games healthy.
But the positive trend would come to an end when Game 4 in the first round came about. 11 minutes into the matchup, Embiid took a hard fall after attempting a difficult layup in traffic. On his way down, Embiid planted his foot on the ground, causing his knee to buckle.
At first, it seemed Embiid suffered a back injury, but when he went back to the locker room, the All-Star center was ruled out as he was dealing with knee soreness. The following morning, Embiid underwent an MRI when he returned to Philly,
While the results weren't too alarming to the team, it wasn't all positive. The good news was that Embiid's postseason wasn't in jeopardy. The bad news was that Embiid still suffered a small lateral meniscus tear.
Since receiving a diagnosis on his setback, Embiid missed one out of five games. None of which occurred in the second-round series against the Atlanta Hawks. Although Embiid was dominant against the Hawks through Philly's first three matchups in the second round, his issues caught up with him during Monday night's Game 4 battle.
In the first half, Embiid was spotted favoring his injured knee on numerous occasions. As he looked sluggish at times as well, the big man reportedly went to get his knee checked out for a moment. Although Embiid was back in action for the second half, his limitations caused him to turn in a dreadful second-half performance.
During the 17 minutes he spent on the court in the final two quarters, Embiid struggled mightily offensively as he went 0-12 from the field, collecting just four points as he got to the free-throw line twice.
After the loss, Embiid admitted his knee was bothering him throughout the matchup. While he's been able to push through the pain in the previous few games, the Sixers center made it clear that he's likely not going to reach one-hundred percent for the rest of this playoff run in terms of health.
"I've been playing well, and sometimes you just can't control [the pain]," Embiid said after the Game 4 loss. "I thought in the second half a bunch of shots went in and out, and there was a couple of calls that could've gone either way. I can do better -- I can always do better. As far as being one-hundred percent, I don't think that's gonna happen until the year is actually over. I just gotta go out and manage it."
The situation is unfortunate for Embiid and the Sixers, but it's a reality they knew they had to live with when the big man's MRI results came in a few weeks back. While Embiid can certainly play much better than he did during Monday night's second half, managing the pain in his knee will be an uphill battle moving forward.