The Philadelphia 76ers left Game 2 against the Boston Celtics with one good piece of good news: Joel Embiid returned and looked promising. Just about everything else went Boston's way as the Sixers got smashed by a score of 121-87.
The Sixers let the Celtics scorch them from beyond the arc and couldn't figure out what to do on offense, resulting in a lopsided defeat. Embiid showed out with his interior defense, finishing with five blocks, but scored just 15 points and didn't tally an assist. Regardless of when he came back, he knew he would have to play injured.
“With what I have, I’m supposed to be out for four-to-six weeks or something like that. So, I'm not gonna be 100 percent for that whole time,” Embiid said. His right LCL sprain has been reported to be more serious than a Grade 1 sprain but not a full tear, meaning that it will take weeks to get it healthy instead of months.
“I felt pretty good to play and I feel like I can help the team defensively and offensively,” the Sixers superstar continued. “Obviously, offensively, I wasn't as aggressive. I was just trying to let the game come to me. And then defensively, just protecting the rim. I think I did a fine job when it comes to that.”
Embiid and the Sixers could have chosen to give him another night of rest since they had stolen Game 1 without him. The playoffs, though, are not the environment to potentially give away games like that. Embiid was able to shake off some rust with at least three more games remaining, a very positive takeaway from an otherwise massive loss.
“I just felt like being up 1-0 and having the chance to go up 2-0 against this type of team, I knew they were going to come at us. I expected it. But you never know, anything can happen,” Embiid said. “I just felt like [it] probably would have been the result as far as how I'm feeling if I would have came back in Game 3: rusty and not myself. Just got this out of the way. Disappointed by the loss but that’s a step toward getting back to myself.”
Joel Embiid said that he has played through a lot in the past, so dealing with a postseason injury is nothing new to him. With Game 3 on Friday at Wells Fargo Center, Embiid and the Sixers will each try to be the very best version of themselves.