Sixers to start playoff return without Embiid
“He will not play in Game 1,” Sixers coach Brett Brown told The Dan Patrick Show on Friday. “From that point going forward, we’ll figure some stuff out. But unless something remarkable happens … I don’t plan on him playing in Game 1.”
Embiid’s status for the remainder of the series is unclear, but he told reporters earlier this week that he will return to the court “soon.”
He missed the final eight games of the regular season due to an orbital bone fracture suffered March 28 in an on-court collision with teammate Markelle Fultz.
Embiid averaged 22.9 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 63 games this season. Philadelphia has had to fill a sizable void in his absence, but the club handled it well in the regular season, winning all eight games without the All-Star center.
The Sixers finished the regular season on a 16-game winning streak and secured the third seed in the Eastern Conference. They finished the regular season with 52 wins, cracking the 50-win mark for the first time since 2000-01.
Brown also said Friday that 2017 No. 1 pick Fultz is projected to remain as the Sixers’ backup point guard in the playoffs.
“I feel like I’m going to continue on with how I played him primarily as Ben Simmons‘ backup point guard, and judge it from there,” Brown said. “… I intend on using him going into the playoffs that way.”
Fultz missed 68 games during his rookie season due to a shoulder injury. He finished the regular season on a high note, tallying a triple-double (13 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) in the Sixers’ win over the Milwaukee Bucks. Fultz became the youngest rookie (19 years, 317 days) in NBA history to notch a triple-double. Both Lonzo Ball and LeBron James recorded triple-doubles at age 20.