76ers: What injury is Joel Embiid playing through?
Joel Embiid is battling back trouble, but scored a game-high 32 points for the 76ers as they got the better of the Mavericks on Friday.
Joel Embiid will keep playing through the pain as the Philadelphia 76ers push towards the NBA playoffs.
The five-time All-Star scored 32 points as the Sixers scored a 111-101 win against the Dallas Mavericks in their latest assignment, complementing 24 from James Harden.
A back problem is causing Embiid to feel the strain as he leads the team towards the postseason, but coach Doc Rivers believes the 28-year-old can stand the physical toll for now.
At 43-26 following Friday night's win, the Sixers are three games behind the Miami Heat, who lead the Eastern Conference, while the Mavericks are fifth in the Western Conference at 43-27.
Embiid added eight rebounds and tied a career-high with five steals, then offered some insight into his fitness state.
Embiid: "What, 13 more games? We're almost there"
"I'm OK," he said. "I've just got to keep pushing. What, 13 more games? We're almost there. Then we will figure out the rest later. I'm fine. We've just got to keep pushing."
He added: "We did a really good job tonight. I think the activity we all had, especially the guys at the top of the zone, was huge, recovering, doing what they do best. It was good to see."
Despite the back bothering him of late, Embiid has played 19 consecutive games, only once dipping under 22 points in that stretch (19 points against Boston Celtics on February 15).
"He's just playing through everything," coach Rivers said, quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
"I go back to the same thing. He's in great shape. Conditioning allows you to play through injury, allows you to play through pain, and he's doing that."