NBA

'The goal is to be healthy' – Embiid not focused on second MVP Award

By Sports Desk January 16, 2024

Joel Embiid is simply focusing on staying healthy rather than paying too much attention to his chances of picking up a second MVP Award.

Embiid has played 28 times for the Philadelphia 76ers this season, and returned from his latest injury layoff to finish with 41 points and 10 rebounds in a 124-115 win over the Houston Rockets on Monday.

That was Embiid's seventh 40-point double-double of the season, and he now has 42 games of at least 40 points and 10 rebounds, the seventh-highest tally in the history of the league.

However, the reigning league MVP can miss only eight of the remaining 44 regular-season games if he is to be considered for the award this time around.

Embiid, though, suggested that is not his main concern.

"It doesn't matter how many games I play; the goal is to be healthy the rest of the year," Embiid said Monday.

"I've already done it. If I have a chance to get a second one, I'll do it. I'm not going to force myself or push for it.

"My game is always going to speak for itself. We're winning. That's the main thing. We've got to keep winning and you put in the stats to be in the [MVP] conversation that's great, too.

"But at the end of the day, if there's something going on, and I can't meet the requirement for the amount of games played to qualify for that, then so be it."

Philadelphia have won just three games without Embiid this season, losing seven. They are 22-6 with him in the team.

His latest issue concerns a knee problem, but Embiid hopes he is over the worst of it.

"We look at the long run and what's coming up next," Embiid said.

"Hopefully it doesn't swell up again."

Next up for the 76ers is a clash with Nikola Jokic's Denver Nuggets on Tuesday.

"They're best team in the league, best player in the league and we've got to try and do our best to get a win," Embiid said.

"It's fun. I like the competition. Who doesn't want to play against the best?"

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