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NBA

Doc Rivers: Joel Embiid feels ‘a lot better’ but uncertain on 76ers return

Joel Embiid missed the series-opening defeat to the Miami Heat following a facial fracture suffered in Game 6 against the Toronto Raptors.

Update:
Apr 28, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN;  Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) gestures after a scoring play against the Toronto Raptors in the second half during game six of the first round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Dan HamiltonUSA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers is leaving the door open for Joel Embiid’s return to the court, following Monday’s series-opening defeat to the Miami Heat, but stopped short of giving “false hope”.

The MVP candidate missed Philadelphia’s 106-92 defeat in Game 1 against the Heat due to a right facial fracture, after he was hit by Pascal Siakam as they closed the series out against the Toronto Raptors last Thursday.

Embiid to miss Game 2

Embiid has been ruled out for Game 2 on Wednesday, with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reporting he could be back as soon as Game 3 when the series switches to Philadelphia.

With that in mind, Rivers tried to temper expectations but cited progress in Embiid’s recovery.

“I know he did something yesterday, but not much, and I know he’s feeling a better,” Rivers said on Tuesday.

“I don’t want to give false hope either. So I’ll just stop there.”

After winning the scoring title in the regular season, Embiid averaged 26.2 points on 52 per cent shooting and 11.3 rebounds in the series against the Raptors.