Report: Sixers big man Joel Embiid officially out for Game 1 vs. Heat
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has been officially ruled out for Game 1 of the first-round series against the Miami Heat, as head coach Brett Brown confirmed it earlier today in The Dan Patrick Show, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The big man suffered an orbital bone fracture after an errant elbow from rookie Markelle Fultz caught him square in the face, forcing him to miss the last eight games of the regular season.
Embiid is expected to return at some point throughout the first-round series, but the team will ensure his fracture has healed in full before making a return — likely with a mask to avoid re-injury.
The 7-footer will be a key contributing factor, with season averages of 22.9 points, 11 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game.
He will be enticed by another encounter with rival Hassan Whiteside in a series that will have some high stakes and plenty of bragging rights on the line — expected to bring many fireworks during the next two weeks.
Despite being without Embiid, the Sixers finished the season with a brilliant 16-game winning streak, hitting full stride and peaking at the right time before their first postseason berth in the last six seasons.