Sixers center Joel Embiid has been working hard on his eventual return. Just about three weeks after suffering a knee injury in the third quarter against the Washington Wizards, the four-time All-Star is close to making his return this year.
When Embiid first went down after a monster slam dunk in Washington D.C., his injury looked season-threatening initially as he laid on the ground, grabbing at his knee. Once he was able to get up and walk back to the visitor's locker room without total assistance, though, the 76ers saw it as a promising sign.
They hoped for a hyperextension but couldn't be so sure until the medical staff received MRI results. The good news was that Embiid's results came back clean, and no structural damage to his knee was detected. The bad news was that he still suffered a deep bruise and would have to undergo rehab.
The 76ers estimated a two-week timeframe before Embiid would have to be re-evaluated. Once the re-evaluation phase came, the 76ers mentioned that the big man would begin resuming on-court activities and ramping up his conditioning, but no return was in sight just yet.
A little less than a week later, the team offered another update. According to a team source, Embiid responded well to the basketball-related activities and was feeling good through conditioning. Therefore, the team mentioned that they expect Embiid to return to the court this weekend.
The 76ers will host two teams between Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, the Minnesota Timberwolves come to town. On Sunday night, the Sixers will match up with the Memphis Grizzlies for the second time this season.
Although the Sixers expect Embiid to return against Minnesota, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania, the big man hasn't been cleared just yet. Per the Sixers' Friday night injury report, Embiid is listed as questionable.
The chances of Embiid being a game-time decision are high. The Sixers will likely wait until he goes through the multiple pregame shootarounds and warmups before deciding on his playing status against Minnesota.