NBA

Sixers still unsure on Embiid status for Game 1 of Conference Semifinals

By Sports Desk April 27, 2023

The Philadelphia 76ers are still not declaring Joel Embiid will be available for Game 1 of their Conference Semifinals starting on Monday due to a sprained right knee.

Embiid missed Game 4 on Saturday as the 76ers completed a 4-0 sweep of the Brooklyn Nets, offering the MVP candidate an opportunity for rest ahead of their next series against either the Boston Celtics or the Atlanta Hawks.

The 76ers center is yet to practice ahead of Game 1 and head coach Doc Rivers said he was undergoing doctor's examination on Thursday.

"I'm just going to wait," Rivers told reporters after Thursday's team practice. "They'll call me later and we'll see where he's at."

Embiid appeared banged up during Game 3 against the Nets, taking a series of falls, before missing Game 4 which the 76ers won 96-88.

Trae Young's game-winning three-pointer clinched Atlanta's 119-117 win on Tuesday, extending the Hawks-Celtics series to a sixth game, allowing the 76ers more time to recover after their sweep.

That Conference Semifinals series would have started on Saturday if it had concluded on Tuesday, with Rivers offering an insight into Embiid's status when asked about that factor.

"If we played on Saturday, I don't know how realistic it would have been, so that's a good thing," Rivers said.

The 76ers went 11-5 in Embiid's absence during the regular season, providing Rivers hope that they could triumph without him.

"Just look at our record all year," Rivers said. "Look at our record last year and the year before. Each year we’ve gotten better when guys are injured.

"Last year we were better. This year, we were way better. That's what gives me confidence."

Embiid averaged a league-high 33.1 points across 66 games in the regular season but was down at 20.0 points during the first round series.

He also averaged 10.2 rebounds and matched a career-high 4.2 assists per game during the regular season.

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    With talisman Tatum hampered by an ankle injury that he sustained on the first play of Monday's game, the Celtics could not get going as Jimmy Butler led the Heat to the NBA Finals.

    Tatum finished with 14 points on 5-for-13 shooting, and was left to reflect on a missed opportunity.

    "It was just frustrating that I was a shell of myself," Tatum said.

    "It was tough to move. Just frustrating, with it happening on the first play."

    Williams' assessment was a blunt one.

    "We got punked," the Celtics forward told ESPN.

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    Jimmy Butler led Miami with 28 points as the Heat won 103-84, ending the Celtics' bid at history in the process.

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