For the first time in over three weeks, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid returned to the court to play against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night.
The last time Embiid suited up for the Sixers was against the Washington Wizards on the road two games after the 2021 NBA All-Star break.
After slamming down a huge dunk, Embiid tweaked his knee and limped to the locker room without ever returning to the court in the second half.
Although the Sixers hoped he only hyperextended his knee, Embiid and the medical staff couldn't be so sure without an MRI.
The following morning, Embiid's MRI results came back clean. With no structural damage, the Sixers could diagnose him with a bruised knee.
At first, the Sixers put Embiid on a two-week timetable before re-evaluation. As he went through a rehab program, Embiid responded well.
While the big man didn't return after two weeks, he did begin to ramp up his on-court basketball activity and conditioning.
Then, another week later, Embiid finally made his return. On Saturday night against the T'Wolves, Embiid made his comeback.
It wasn't his best performance by any means, but collecting 24 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks in 28 minutes after missing 10 games was a solid first outing back for the big man, who thought his season was over a few weeks ago.
While Embiid is officially healthy again, he can't necessarily be considered one-hundred percent. For starters, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers made it clear that he would be on a bit of a minutes restriction on Saturday and surely wouldn't exceed 35 minutes of playing time against Minnesota.
Now, Rivers is unclear if Embiid will participate in the team's back-to-back or not on Saturday night against the Memphis Grizzlies.
“I don’t know about tomorrow,” Rivers admitted after Saturday's game. “We were going to wait and see how today went, but we will be more cautious than aggressive, I can tell you that. That still doesn't mean he will not play or play.”
The 76ers and the Grizzlies tip-off at 7:00 pm est at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday night. Similar to Saturday's situation, Embiid will likely be considered a game-time decision.