Joel Embiid’s health will be key for the Philadelphia 76ers if they want to repel the Atlanta Hawks and book their tickets to the East Finals. However, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers has some not so good news in that regard.
While Rivers revealed that he is not concerned about Embiid’s recovery from knee injury now that there is only a one-day rest before Game 5, he acknowledged that his All-Star center is not 100 percent and likely won’t be for some time.
“I have no more (concern). I really don’t. Listen, we walk on the floor we’re good. We wouldn’t put Joel out there if he couldn’t play,” Rivers said of the Sixers big man, per Derek Bodner of The Athletic.
“He’s not going to be exactly what he was, but I will take it,” he added.
To recall, Joel Embiid suffered a small lateral meniscus tear in his right knee during their first-round series against the Washington Wizards. Obviously, he’s able to play through it and was even dominant in Games 1 to 3 against the Hawks.
Nonetheless, in Game 4, Embiid had to leave the contest in the first half to get a treatment. He did return and actually played well in the opening half. Shockingly, though, the Sixxers star struggled mightily in the second half and missed all of his 12 field goal attempts in the final 24 minutes of play.
Embiid also admitted after the match that his knee bothered him and he just “didn’t have the lift.”
This is certainly the last thing Sixers fans would want to hear, especially after the Hawks tied the series at 2-2. Nevertheless, this should serve as a challenge for the rest of the Philly roster to step up and ease the burden on the Cameroonian. After all, they can’t solely rely on one man if they have championship aspirations.