Few teams have much of a chance of making in-roads in the NBA Playoffs when forced to compete without their best player. The Philadelphia 76ers know this feeling all too well at this point. The Sixers suffered double-digit defeats in both Games 1 and 2 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Miami Heat. Notably absent from the 76ers’ lineup in both games was superstar center, Joel Embiid. Not only is he the team’s best player, but he is an NBA MVP Award finalist at that. Ahead of Friday night’s Heat vs 76ers Game 3 showdown, Philly got a very positive Joel Embiid injury update.
Joel Embiid Injury Update Expresses Optimism
With a day off for travel between Games 2 and 3 of the Heat vs 76ers series, many were curious as to whether the Joel Embiid injury status would improve enough for him to return to action on Friday. A broken orbital bone sustained in Game 6 of the Sixers’ First Round series against Toronto prevented Embiid from even traveling with the team to Miami. While Philly fans tried to keep hope, Embiid was still designated as “Out” on the official 76ers injury report as of Thursday night.
The first step in the process was clearing concussion protocol. It was reported on Friday morning that Embiid successfully did so. He also participated in the 76ers’ morning shoot-around. However, there were still conflicting takes on the Joel Embiid status for Game 3. Of the reporters who have been dialed into the Joel Embiid injury situation, Shams Charania expressed the most optimism Friday morning.
76ers fans who gained a sense of hope from the tweet above would only have their excitement elevated midday. Charania proceeded to inform the public that Embiid was fitted for a face mask following Friday morning’s shootaround. Upon this development, Sixers sources made it known that Embiid will likely play in tonight’s Heat vs 76ers Game 3.
The only shot the 76ers had at winning this series was for Embiid to return to action. All signs point towards the MVP finalist doing just that in Game 3 on Friday night.
Joel Embiid Injury Update Alters Outlook of Heat vs 76ers Series
The impact of this positive Joel Embiid injury update cannot be overstated. The 76ers are a completely different team with their superstar center on the floor. This notion is applicable to both offense and defense.
Forced to play without Embiid in Games 1 and 2, the Sixers had no answers for Heat center Bam Adebayo inside. With James Harden continuing to be a massive disappointment, the onus was on Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris to carry the load offensively. All of this will change with Embiid back on the floor moving forward.
In addition to averaging 30.6 points and 11.7 rebounds per game, Embiid blocked 1.5 shots per contest this season. His return improves the outlook for Philadelphia improves drastically at both ends of the floor. The Sixers will be getting their best scorer back. Embiid will also prevent Miami from dominating in the paint like they were able to in Games 1 and 2.
It’s still a stretch to say the 76ers can come all the way back to win the series. However, Embiid’s presence at least gives them a shot. Fans can expect a raucous Philly crowd and some intense NBA Playoffs action in Friday’s Heat vs 76ers Game 3.