Joel Embiid speaks on injury status after NBA Playoffs return – 76ers MVP Joel Embiid on NBA Playoffs return: ‘Not myself’ – The day after Philadelphia 76ers phenom Joel Embiid was named 2023 NBA MVP, he made his long-awaited return from injury in the NBA Playoffs.
With a sprained right LCL, Embiid has missed the Sixers’ last two games – the Sixers’ closeout Game 4 against the Nets and a surprising Game 1 victory against the Celtics to open the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
The day after 76ers phenom Joel Embiid was named 2023 NBA MVP, Embiid thought he was healthy enough to play in Game 2 in Boston, despite the 76ers stealing Game 1 on the road.
His return did not go as planned, as the 76ers were blown out 121-87 by the Celtics, tying the series at 1-1.
How did Embiid appear in his first game back from injury, and what did he have to say about it?
How did Joel Embiid play in Game 2 vs. Celtics?
Embiid appeared to be in pain in his first game since April 20, sporting a large brace underneath his leggings. The famous centre was sluggish in the first quarter and was observed groaning in agony after some plays, but he finally relaxed.
Embiid had the most effect on the defensive end, with five blocked shots in the first half. His finest highlight of the game was an aggressive swat on Celtics star Jaylen Brown’s dunk attempt.
Aside from his rim protection, the newly crowned MVP appeared to be out of sync. He finished with three rebounds, his lowest total in over two years (May 13, 2021). He finished with 15 points on 4-for-9 shooting from the field, but his touch was off, and he did most of his damage from the free throw line (7-8 FT).
When Boston blew the game open with a 3-point barrage at the end of the third quarter, taking a 27-point lead into the fourth, head coach Doc Rivers chose to rest his starters.
Embiid played 27 minutes and rested for the entire fourth quarter. His ultimate stat line was 15 points, three rebounds, three assists, five blocks, and three turnovers with a +/- of minus-23, which was the team’s second worst.
“I wasn’t as aggressive,” Embiid said after the game, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark. “Not by myself.” This is now completed. This is a step towards becoming myself again.”
Doc Rivers, the Sixers’ head coach, concurred, adding their star centre was “rusty.”
“I thought he got out of rhythm a couple of times, and I thought we were out of rhythm as well,” added Rivers. “But we were expecting that. We understood there would have to be some sort of growing pains involved in bringing him back. “I’m glad we got it over with today.”
How did Joel Embiid’s Knee feel after Game 2?
When asked about his ailing knee, Embiid admitted he isn’t completely healthy.
“I was supposed to be out of commission for four to six weeks,” he explained. “I’m not going to give it my all. “I’m not going to be completely recovered.”
He did, however, state that he will continue to put up a fight for his squad.
“I believe I’ll be alright. “I’ve been through a lot,” he told ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “We’ve got a big chance, and we need to take advantage of it.”
The status of Embiid for Game 3 will be worth keeping an eye on. He’ll only have one day off until the Celtics and 76ers play Game 3 in Philadelphia on Friday, May 5th at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.