Philadelphia 76ers starting center Joel Embiid has been cleared for action in Sunday's Game 1 matchup against the Atlanta Hawks.
Embiid's injury concerns started last week during the team's Game 4 matchup on the road against the Washington Wizards in the first round of the playoffs. 11 minutes into the first quarter, the star center landed awkwardly and buckled his knee.
At first, it seemed Embiid was dealing with back pain. Despite taking a hard fall, the four-time All-Star remained on the court for a few more minutes before eventually coming off for his first rest of the matchup.
Instead of going to the team's bench, Embiid walked straight back to the Sixers' locker room with the team's medical staff. After missing the entire second quarter, the 76ers eventually ruled the big man out for the rest of the night.
The following morning, Embiid underwent an MRI. After getting opinions from several specialists, the Sixers finally reached a diagnosis of a small meniscus tear on Embiid's knee. At that point, the team ruled him out for the Game 5 matchup against the Wizards.
Despite playing the series finale without Embiid on the floor, the Sixers took care of business at home and defeated the Wizards. With that victory on Wednesday night, the 76ers advanced to the second round of the playoffs where they will face the Atlanta Hawks.
Leading up to the Sunday afternoon Game 1 matchup between the Sixers and the Hawks, Embiid's status was unknown. Although he practiced in a limited capacity during Friday and Saturday's team practice sessions, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers left the door open for Embiid's potential return in Game 1 as the team remained undecided on his official status.
After going through pregame workouts, the team confirmed Embiid will start and play in the series opener on Sunday.