Nick Nurse 'hopeful' Joel Embiid will suit up for Play-In Tournament matchup against Miami Heat

Keith Pompey, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Basketball

PHILADELPHIA — Nick Nurse shied away from saying it was definitive. Instead, he uttered the word hopeful.

The 76ers coach said he’s hopeful Joel Embiid will play against the Miami Heat in Wednesday’s NBA Play-In Tournament.

“Yeah, hopefully,” he said. “Not sure on anybody, but I’m hopeful.”

After Embiid tweaked his left knee Friday against the Orlando Magic, Nurse said he has zero concerns that the reigning MVP will lose aggressiveness for fear of injuring the knee.

That was Embiid’s fifth game back after being sidelined two months because of a torn meniscus. The seven-time All-Star missed Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Brooklyn Nets for what the team called precautionary reasons.

But Nurse said Embiid was a full participant at Monday’s practice. The coach added his movement and mobility were good.


“He was in good spirits,” Nurse said. “He was highly engaged. A lot of the things we were doing were super game-plan specific. He was locked in.”

That’s a good thing for the Sixers, who will have a tough time defeating the Heat without the 7-foot-2, 280-pounder.

Embiid is getting back to his normal dominant self, averaging 30.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocks in 30.5 minutes during the five games since his return.

The eighth-year veteran did not speak to the media Monday, but Kelly Oubre Jr. echoed what Nurse said about Embiid.


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