Sixers' Joel Embiid has 'pretty good chance' of returning for Game 2 or 3

ByRamona Shelburne ESPN logo
Sunday, April 15, 2018

PHILADELPHIA -- Sixerscenter Joel Embiid said that his rehabilitation from a broken orbital bone and concussion has been going well, and "we got a pretty good chance for Game 2 or Game 3."

Embiid told ESPN prior to Saturday night's playoff opener against the Miami Heat that he still has to prove that he can withstand contact before he will be cleared to return, but he has been ramping up his on-court work in recent days and has been able to do everything that has been thrown at him thus far.

"If it was my decision, I would play, but I can't get back out on the court if I don't have the OK from them," Embiid said. "But everything has been going well. I've been able to do everything. And I feel great. So we got a pretty good chance for Game 2 or Game 3. We gonna see how it feels in the next couple of days.

"I got to do some contact stuff and see how it feels, and then they are going to allow me to be back. I did a little bit today, kind of like dummy defense -- not really contact but, like, a body on me."

The 76ers host Game 2 on Monday night, with Game 3 set for Thursday night in Miami.

Embiid says he has lost some weight since he suffered the injury in a collision with teammate Markelle Fultz on March 28. He had surgery to repair the fracture and missed the last eight games of the regular season.

"I was 280-something, and I'm, like, 275 right now, which is surprising because usually when I'm out, I gain weight," Embiid said. "I think it has to do a lot with body mass."

Embiid had been restricted in his weight lifting and conditioning since the injury, but he said he has been able to ramp up those activities lately as well.

He spent about 30 minutes shooting on the court before Saturday's game. During that time, he wore a black, protective mask that he says he prefers to a white or clear mask.

"The white, clear mask is kind of harder, visibility-wise. It gets foggy and all that," Embiid said. "[But] we still gotta get the league to approve the black mask. There's a few options, so we gonna see how that goes."

Asked if he'd take Philadelphia Eagles lineman Chris Longup on his offer to wear a dog mask, like the Eagles did on their way to winning the Super Bowl, Embiid laughed.

"That would be, like, good business marketing, like my first game back, they had masks all over the place," he said.

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