CAMDEN, N.J. — The Philadelphia 76ers still aren’t saying if Joel Embiid will be able to return from a sprained right knee and play Monday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at TD Garden in Boston.
The 76ers completed a sweep of the Brooklyn Nets on April 22, providing a great opportunity for Embiid to rest up. Embiid, an NBA MVP finalist, missed Game 4 with the knee injury. He has yet to practice ahead of Monday’s Game 1 against the Celtics, who finished off the Atlanta Hawks, winning the opening-round series in six games with a 128-120 victory Thursday night.
Coach Doc Rivers said Thursday that Embiid was at a doctor’s exam while the team practiced at its New Jersey facility.
“I’m just going to wait,” Rivers said. “They’ll call me later and we’ll see where he’s at.”
The 29-year-old Embiid, from Yaoundé, Cameroon, averaged 33.1 points this season to win his second straight scoring title. He also averaged 10.2 rebounds and tied a career high with 4.2 assists per game. He played in 66 games, the second-highest total of his career.
Embiid missed two games in the second round last year and another in the first round in 2021 with various injuries, on top of the two he missed to begin the 2018 playoffs with an orbital fracture and another in 2019, also with a knee problem.
Rivers said the extended Celtics-Hawks series had increased the chances of Embiid playing in Game 1 in the next round.
“If we played on Saturday, I don’t know how realistic it would have been, so that’s a good thing,” Rivers said.
Embiid’s availability will be a huge factor, obviously, especially considering how closely these teams were matched during the regular season.
Boston won three of four meetings, but the margin was single digits in every game. The Celtics (57-25) finished just three games ahead of Philadelphia (54-28) in the conference standings.
Embiid averaged 36.8 points and 11.8 rebounds in four games this season against the Celtics.
The Sixers have not won a playoff series vs. Boston since 1982, when guard Andrew Toney’s 34 points led Philadelphia to a stunning Game 7 win at Boston Garden and sent them to the NBA Finals vs. the Lakers. The Boston crowd famously chanted “Beat L.A.” in the closing minutes.
The Celtics have essentially been in championship-or-bust mode since losing to Golden State in last year’s finals.
This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: Embiid knee still in question for Sixers heading into Game 1 at Boston
Source: Yahoo Sports