NBA

Returning Sixers star Embiid says he was depressed during injury layoff

By Sports Desk April 03, 2024

Joel Embiid has revealed his recent injury layoff left him feeling depressed, having returned to the court to help the Philadelphia 76ers past the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday. 

Embiid missed over two months of action after suffering a knee injury during a game against the Golden State Warriors at the end of January.

Having undergone surgery to repair the lateral meniscus in his left knee, Embiid sat out 29 straight games with the Sixers slumping from 29-17 to 40-35 in that time.

The Sixers have gone 14-27 without the reigning NBA MVP overall this campaign, and they were buoyed by his return on Tuesday as he finished their 109-105 win with 24 points, seven assists and six rebounds.

Opening up on the toll his injury took, Embiid said: "Usually I just tell myself, 'move on to the next one', get better, and then fix it, but this one took a toll mentally, being depressed, it was not good.

"So, I'm still not where I'm supposed to be, especially mentally, but I just love to play and love basketball and I want to play. Any chance that I have to be out there, I'm going to take it.

"For some reason this injury was just disappointing. It was depressing. It took me a while to get over it, and I still haven't gotten over it. So I've just got to take it day by day, look at the positives.

"I'm back. So, hopefully every single day, I'll try to get better and get back to myself."

Embiid was limited to just 29 minutes on the court, but only Kelly Oubre Jr., with 25 points, bettered his return as Philadelphia boosted their playoff hopes by making it back-to-back wins. 

"Minutes-wise, that was probably where I thought we would end up," head coach Nick Nurse said. "I thought we had a good start and it mapped out something like that, minutes-wise.

"He scored some, I thought he passed the ball really well, but when we start amping up our defense in the last six minutes he was down there again.

"Some of those drives didn't look as productive, so that to me is where I really thought he impacted the game. He looked pretty good for not playing for a couple of months, that's for sure."

Related items

  • NBA: Embiid leads 76ers to 7th seed; White scores career-high 42 in Bulls' rout NBA: Embiid leads 76ers to 7th seed; White scores career-high 42 in Bulls' rout

    Joel Embiid had 23 points, 15 rebounds and six assists and the 76ers beat the visiting Miami Heat 105-104 on Wednesday in an Eastern Conference play-in game.

    With the victory, Philadelphia secured the seventh seed in the East and will face the second-seeded New York Knicks in a first-round series beginning on Saturday.

    The Heat, who made last season’s NBA Finals as a play-in team, will face an elimination game Friday against the Chicago Bulls for the eighth seed and the right to play the NBA-best Boston Celtics.

    Embiid’s availability against Miami was uncertain after the reigning league MVP tweaked his surgically repaired left knee Friday and sat out the regular-season finale two days later.

    He played 38 minutes and stepped up down the stretch with eight points in the final three minutes and dished out a clutch assist.

    With the game tied at 96, Embiid found Kelly Oubre Jr. under the basket with 36 seconds to play, and he was fouled while making a layup for a three-point play to put Philadelphia ahead for good.

    On Miami’s next possession, Nicolas Batum blocked Tyler Herro’s potential game-tying 3-point attempt.

    Batum provided a spark off the bench with 20 points and hit five of his six 3-pointers after halftime to help Philadelphia battle back from a 12-point deficit at the break.

    Tyrese Maxey added 19 points for a 76ers team that made 21 of 23 free throws.

    Both Herro and Jimmy Butler struggled with their shots for the Heat, who led by as much as 14 late in the second quarter.

    Butler injured his right knee in the first quarter and said after the game that he would need an MRI, putting his availability for Friday in question.

    Herro finished with a game-high 25 points but was just 4 of 14 from 3-point range, while Butler had 19 points on 5-of-18 shooting.

     

     

    White erupts for career-high 42 in Bulls’ win

    Coby White scored a career-best 42 points on 15-of-21 shooting and Nikola Vucevic added 24 points and 12 rebounds as the Chicago Bulls rolled to a 131-116 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

    White, who surpassed his previous career high of 37 points, had nine rebounds and six assists as Chicago advanced to a Friday matchup at Miami for the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.

    DeMar DeRozan had 22 points and nine assists and Ayo Dosunmu added 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting after missing the final four regular-season games with a bruised right quadricep.

    The Bulls shot 56.8 percent from the field and 42.3 percent (11 for 23) from 3-point range to go with a 47-34 rebounding advantage.

    Dejounte Murray led the Hawks with 30 points and Trae Young and Clint Capela each had 22 as Atlanta’s season came to an end after it closed the regular season with six straight losses.

    The Hawks were within 88-85 but Vucevic’s 3-pointer ignited a 17-2 run to put the Bulls up 105-87 with 1:27 left in the third quarter.

  • Heat forward Butler needs MRI on injured right knee Heat forward Butler needs MRI on injured right knee

    Miami Heat star guard Jimmy Butler says he will need an MRI on his right knee after he was injured in the first half of a play-in tournament loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.

    Butler sustained the injury in the first quarter when he tried to fake out Kelly Oubre Jr. on a basket, only to have his knee buckle. He fell to the floor and Oubre appeared to land on top of him.

    “I fell, he landed, and my knee just didn’t do well, I guess,” Butler said. “I don’t know. It’s not a good feeling, I can tell you that.”

    Butler sank the free throw, exhaled, and missed the second one. He stayed in the game and finished with 19 points on 5-of-18 shooting in a 105-104 loss.

    The Heat will host the Chicago Bulls on Friday night, with the winner getting the No. 8 seed and a playoff matchup with the league-leading Boston Celtics.

    “We just need to get one and then we’ll worry about the next one,” Butler said.

    It’s unknown whether Butler will be available to play that game.

    “It felt like I couldn’t do much, which sucks with the timing of the game and everything,” Butler said. “I hope that I’m fine. I hope that I wake up tomorrow and can still stick-and-move. Right now, I can’t say that’s the case.”

    Butler averaged 20.8 points in 60 games this season for the Heat, tied with Tyler Herro for the team lead.

  • Williamson out for Pelicans’ do-or-die play-in tournament game due to hamstring injury Williamson out for Pelicans’ do-or-die play-in tournament game due to hamstring injury

    The New Orleans Pelicans will be without injured leading scorer Zion Williamson when they host the Sacramento Kings in Friday’s Western Conference play-in tournament elimination game.

    Williamson starred in his NBA postseason debut Tuesday, scoring 40 points while adding 11 rebounds and five assists in over 36 minutes of action against the Los Angeles Lakers.

    The two-time All-Star, though, missed the final three minutes of New Orleans’ 110-106 loss after injuring his left hamstring.

    Williamson tied the game at 95 with 3:19 remaining in the fourth quarter on a driving layup, but he left shortly after and headed to the Pelicans’ locker room.

    His huge performance caught the attention of Lakers superstar LeBron James.

    “He's a generational player, a generational talent. He's going to continue to get better and better,” James said. “Tonight was just a small microcosm of how great he can be, his ability to get downhill, finish vs. smalls, finish vs. bigs, taller guys, shorter guys, doesn't matter.

    “One thing about him, he's not afraid to compete. So, that's a great thing. He's a star.”

    Williamson missed plenty of time due to various injuries in his first four seasons after New Orleans selected him No. 1 overall in the 2019 NBA Draft, but he was healthy throughout the 2023-24 campaign.

    Williamson appeared in a career-high 70 contests and led the Pelicans with 22.9 points per game while averaging 5.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists.

    The winner of Friday’s matchup between New Orleans and Sacramento will capture the No. 8 seed in the West and move on to play the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.