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When the Philadelphia 76ers faced the Miami Heat for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals series last week, the Sixers were forced to play without their star center, Joel Embiid. 

Coming off of a dominant Game 6 victory on the road against the Toronto Raptors in the first round, Embiid was diagnosed with an orbital fracture and a mild concussion. Therefore, the big man wasn't cleared to travel to Miami last Sunday.

The Sixers entered the second round of the NBA playoffs expecting Embiid to be off the floor for the first two games. Meanwhile, they left the door open for his potential return in Game 3 when the series came to Philadelphia.

So far, everything has gone according to plan for the Sixers in that sense.

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In the first two games, Embiid remained in Philadelphia as he recovered from his concussion. When the Sixers returned home on Thursday, the five-time All-Star was cleared from the concussion protocol and participated in a Friday morning shootaround.

Although the Sixers originally listed Embiid as out for Game 3, he was upgraded to doubtful after being an active participant in Friday morning's shootaround. After going through his pregame warmup routine, Embiid was cleared for action.

The star big man checked into Game 3 for 36 minutes. During that time, he put up 18 points off of 12 shots from the field and ten shots from the free-throw line. After the game, Embiid mentioned that he felt fine but admitted that he lacked energy on the floor.

Considering Embiid is still dealing with the after-effects of his thumb and facial injury, the big man is playing everything by ear. Therefore, he's listed as questionable for Philadelphia's Game 4 matchup against the Heat on Sunday night.

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.