Joel Embiid’s absence has left the Philadelphia 76ers in a dire state. The Miami Heat held down Game 1 against the Sixers. After a tightly contested first half, P.J.Tucker clamped James Harden and Miami took the 106-92 win to start their next series in the NBA Playoffs.

The best-case scenario for the Sixers is that Embiid returns in Game 3 or Game 4 when the series shifts to Philadelphia. His orbital fracture and concussion are giving the Heat a big opportunity to take control of this series.

Tucker told Marc Spears of Andscape that the key to slowing down the Sixers is to just worry about everyone else since Embiid is so good. Of course, they didn’t need to do that in Game 1. When Spears mentions Embiid’s injuries have him sidelined for the time being, Tucker dismisses them and claims that the Sixers superstar, who he sees as the MVP, will bounce back as all injured stars do in the postseason:

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I heard, but I am not listening to that. Everybody is hurt. I got a strained calf. I got a bum ankle I re-twisted. We can all be questionable for the next game. It’s just the playoffs. It’s about who’s built for this. Who’s going to step up. Who’s going to put the mask on, knee sleeve on, and Icy Hot and be like, ‘I’m going to give you what I got.’ I expect him to play. He’s the MVP of the season.

Not only are Embiid’s injuries very serious, but he has to work his way back through the league’s concussion protocols. The Sixers big man surely wants to make it back but has a long road ahead of him.

If Embiid returns to a tied series, the Sixers will have a strong chance to take it from the Eastern Conference’s top seed.