Embiid clears protocol, won’t play in Game 2
CAMDEN, N.J. — Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has cleared the concussion protocol but will not play in Game 2 against the Miami Heat on Monday. Sixers coach Brett Brown said Sunday that the club does not have a clear idea on when Embiid might return.
Embiid suffered a broken orbital bone and concussion in a collision with teammate Markelle Fultz on March 28. He underwent surgery to repair the fracture and has been sidelined since.
Brown said the Sixers’ dominant Game 1 win Saturday did not factor in the team’s decision to sit Embiid for Game 2.
“It’s about what’s best for Joel’s health,” Brown said.
After Game 2 on Monday, the Sixers plan to practice in Philadelphia on Tuesday and travel to Miami on Wednesday. Game 3 is Thursday night in Miami.
Between Game 2 and Game 3, Embiid may participate in on-court work with members of the Sixers coaching staff or players who are not in the team’s regular rotation.
“That’s part of Joel’s return-to-play plan,” Brown said.
But the coach added that it would be difficult to put together a full scrimmage for Embiid, whose conditioning may be a factor upon his return.
“To recreate that in real ways isn’t going to happen,” Brown said.
Embiid had told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne prior to Saturday night’s playoff opener that he was optimistic about playing in Game 2 or 3.
“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.”
Embiid said he has lost some weight since he suffered the injury. He will wear a protective mask when he returns to the court.
Without Embiid, the Sixers dominated the Heat in Game 1. Philadelphia outscored Miami by 31 points in the second half of its 130-103 win, using a number of small-ball lineups after halftime.
Philadelphia has handled Embiid’s entire absence well. The club is 9-0 without its All-Star center, who averaged 22.9 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 63 games in the regular season.
Overall, Philadelphia has won 17 consecutive games.