Sixers Are Preparing for Another Game Potentially Without Joel Embiid
Every game for the Philadelphia 76ers playoff run could be exactly like this - Waiting on the status of their superstar center, Joel Embiid. So far, the Sixers have been fortunate enough to get him for two out of three games, and staying in the lead of the series being 2-1, but how much longer are we going to play the waiting game?
It all started back in the second half of the regular season. Embiid was dealing with some knee pain before the All-Star break, which didn't stop him from appearing in the exhibition game. After Embiid's subpar performance along with the NBA's best, the team decided to shut down all basketball activities for at least a week.
Although the Sixers made it clear that Embiid's knee concerns issued no structural damage, the tendinitis that he was dealing with was giving him pain that was sharp enough to make him want to sit out himself. Embiid ended up missing a majority of the regular season's second half, expecting to feel better by the time playoffs rolled around. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case.
Embiid had the decision to play or not during Game 1, and he ended up pushing through the pain. Game 2 was a similar situation, where Embiid was questionable but fought through and appeared on the court for 24 minutes. Many expected the same situation in Game 3 on the road, but Embiid shocked everybody and ended up sitting out.
Sixers' Head Coach Brett Brown was just as surprised as everybody else. Brown didn't rely on Embiid being a sure-thing, but he wasn't aware that the Sixers' center wasn't going to play until at least 15 minutes before the game. Game 4 could end up being the same situation as Embiid is once again listed as 'Doubtful' on the injury report. Knowing that Embiid missed the last game as a questionable candidate, his new status sure makes it seem like there's no chance of playing on Saturday.
The Sixers won't commit to his final status anytime soon, as he will remain a game-time decision, as always. While it seems like his status for Game 4 will likely be 'Out,' we need to keep in mind that Embiid was listed as 'Doubtful' before Game 1, and he ended up making an appearance on the court for the tip-off.
Seeing as though Brett Brown felt satisfied with the performances of Greg Monroe and Boban Marjanovic on Thursday night, he could feel comfortable enough without Embiid on Saturday. However, if the Sixers' big man is feeling up for the challenge, Philly shouldn't do anything to try and hold him back. At this point, the decision to play or not is solely Embiid's choice, depending on the pain he is feeling.