In previous seasons, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid typically wouldn't play in back-to-back games. As he's had injury troubles ever since entering the NBA, the Sixers have been extremely careful with their franchise standout.
This year, though, Embiid put a lot of work into being in optimal shape coming into the season so he could avoid the "load management" route. During the first half of the season, the big man was in great shape as he missed fewer than ten games and even played in back-to-backs when his back and knee were feeling fine.
But a significant knee injury that forced him to miss ten-straight games at the start of the second half of the season changed the rules a bit. When Embiid returned from his ten-game hiatus, he played during the first night of a back-to-back set of games.
On the second night, the 76ers ruled him out as they didn't want to overwork him right off the bat. Although the 76ers eased Embiid back into the mix at first, the All-Star center is making it clear he doesn't want to miss games unless he absolutely has to for the rest of the year.
“I wasn’t supposed to play,” Embiid said in regards to Wednesday night's game against the Phoenix Suns. “I’m not in the best physical shape at this point, but we got a bunch of guys out. It’s my job to, like I always mention, to just go out and be a leader. Just pushing every night.”
Leading up to the matchup, Embiid was listed as questionable due to "injury management." After getting a workout in during pregame warmups, the big man received clearance to play from the Sixers' medical staff.
After checking in for 32 minutes on Wednesday night, Embiid was asked whether he would play in Thursday's game against the Milwaukee Bucks or not, considering it's a back-to-back game. Never one to hold back, Embiid answered accordingly.
“I can’t rest even if I’m hurt,” he explained. “I just got to keep pushing because at the end of the day, like I’ve been saying, the number one seed is important. Every single night, I got to go out and fight. Hopefully, these guys get healthier, and they come back and help us."
The Sixers are set to take on the Milwaukee Bucks Thursday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 PM EST.