Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid hopes to play in Game 2 or 3 of NBA playoffs vs. Miami Heat


PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid said that his rehabilitation from a broken orbital bone and concussion has been going well and “we got a pretty good chance for Game 2 or Game 3.”

Embiid told ESPN prior to Saturday night’s playoff opener against the Miami Heat that he’s still got to prove he can withstand contact before he’s cleared to return, but he’s been ramping up his on-court work in recent days and has been able to do everything that’s been thrown at him thus far.

“If it was my decision I would play, but I can’t get back out on the court if I don’t have the OK from them,” Embiid said. “But everything has been going well. I’ve been able to do everything. And I feel great. So we got a pretty good chance for Game 2 or Game 3. We gonna see how it feels in the next couple of days.

“I got to do some contact stuff and see how it feels and then they are going to allow me to be back. I did a little bit today, kind of like dummy defense. Not really contact, but like a body on me.”

The Sixers host Game 2 on Monday night, with Game 3 set for Thursday night in Miami.

Embiid says he’s lost some weight since suffering the injury in a collision with teammate Markelle Fultz on March 28. He had surgery to repair the fracture and missed the last eight games of the regular season.

“I was 280-something, and I’m like 275 right now, which is surprising because usually when I’m out I gain weight,” Embiid said. “I think it has to do a lot with body mass.”

Embiid had been restricted in his weight lifting and conditioning since the injury, but said he’s been able to ramp those activities up lately as well.

He spent about 30 minutes shooting on the court before the Saturday’s game. During that time, he wore a black, protective mask which he says he prefers to a white or clear mask.

“The white, clear mask is kind of harder, visibility-wise. It gets foggy and all that,” Embiid said. “[But] we still gotta get the league to approve the black mask. There’s a few options, so we gonna see how that goes.”

Asked if he’d take Philadelphia Eagles lineman Chris Long up on his offer to wear dog masks, like the Eagles did on their way to winning the Super Bowl, Embiid laughed.

“That would be like good business marketing, like my first game back they had masks all over the place,” he joked.

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