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Joel Embiid cleared for non-contact drills, Sixers will update his status in a week

Sixers, Joel Embiid

Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid has been cleared for non-contact drills and an update is expected to be given next Thursday when he is re-evaluated, according to Serena Winters of NBC Sports Philadelphia. Embiid underwent surgery to fix some loose tendons in his left hand after dislocating his ring fingers in a collision with Steven Adams last week.

Embiid had a follow-up visit with his surgeon on Monday, who eventually gave him the green light to get started on light work while keeping his left hand protected. The 7-footer is launching jumpers, though awkwardly at first, continuing his routine in hopes to return back to action next week.

He also took part in conditioning drills on Thursday, which should only bode well for his stamina levels, despite the inactivity.

The Sixers are 2-2 without Embiid, but have dropped to the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. They pulled out a surprising win in their recent matchup against the Boston Celtics immediately after Embiid was ruled out indefinitely with the injury. However, they then lost their next two on the road against the Dallas Mavericks and the Indiana Pacers. After that, they rebounded with Wednesday’s win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Sixers head coach Brett Brown is using Embiid’s absence as an opportunity to get his players more aggressive and contributing with strong performances, hoping they become less dependent on the All-Star center. Ben Simmons has seen a more prominent role at both ends of the floor with Embiid out, and rookie big man Norvel Pelle has also gotten some unexpected burn as they’ve looked to fill the void left by Embiid.

Embiid is averaging 23.4 points and 12.3 rebounds per game this season, though he’s only played in 31 of the team’s 42 games thus far in the 2019-20 campaign.