Friday update: The 76ers had a MRI done on Embiid’s knee and there was a sprain. They are ruling him out for Game 4 and saying he can return as early as next week, but knee sprains are not something to mess with. The 76ers should be able to beat the Nets without Embiid, but the question is whether he’ll be able to return in time for the big series in the second round against presumably the Celtics.
Update: Embiid has returned from the locker room and is expected to be available for the rest of Game 3. We’ll see if the back injury limits him at all, but he’s going to play through it for now.
Joel Embiid is back on the bench after a visit to the locker room #Sixers— Ky Carlin (@Ky_Carlin) April 21, 2023
Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid went to the locker room Thursday in Game 3 agains the Brooklyn Nets after appearing to suffer a back injury. Embiid has a history of injuries in the postseason, so this is nothing new for Sixers fans. It is, however, very concerning given the timing and potential location for the injury.
Embiid is coming off a dominant showing in Game 2 with 20 points and 19 rebounds, and he likely wanted to have another massive performance here to show NBA fans the Sixers are for real this season. If this injury is significant though, it’ll be yet another instance of Philadelphia having poor luck in the postseason with injuries. We’ve already seen Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo suffer a back contusion, which cost him a game. Hopefully, this is nothing more than a minor issue for Embiid.
If Embiid does indeed need to sit out, Paul Reed likely becomes the main center for Philadelphia. The 76ers will tweak their offense to revolve more around James Harden and Tyrese Maxey, while Reed simply looks to fill the space Embiid left rather than make up for his insane production.