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April 24, 2023

Report: There is 'optimism' that Joel Embiid will play in Game 1 of second round

After suffering a knee injury in the Sixers' Game 3 win over the Nets, there is reportedly 'optimism' that MVP candidate Joel Embiid will be ready for Game 1 of the team's second-round playoff series.

The Sixers were able to sweep the Nets over the weekend in Brooklyn, buying them some much needed time as it relates to the health of Joel Embiid, who suffered a knee injury in Game 3 and missed the series-clincher. Finishing things up in four games allows their perennial MVP candidate more time to recover from that injury ahead of the team's second-round series.

When that time comes in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, will Embiid be ready to go? There's no definitive word yet, but on Monday morning, NBA insider Shams Charania said the following on FanDuel TV about Embiid and his shot at playing at the beginning of the next round:

There is optimism that [Embiid will] be able to play in Game 1 of their next series against Boston, I assume, or Atlanta, we'll see... He had a sprained knee and I think they believe this is about a one-week injury and, assuming the playoff start next weekend, this upcoming weekend, the hope is that Joel Embiid will be in the lineup, but, yeah, he went down a few times in that Nets Game 3, but, thankfully, it wasn't anything major. [FanDuel TV]

Here's a video excerpt of Charania's report:

More likely than not, as Charania says, the Sixers will be facing Boston next round, as the Celtics currently hold a 3-1 lead over the Hawks with a close-out opportunity in Game 5 on Tuesday night. If the Celtics were to lock this up in five games, Game 1 between the Sixers and Celtics in Boston would be on Saturday, April 29. That would make eight days in between games for Embiid. Sixers fans should be hoping that Celtics-Hawks series gets extended to six or seven games, which would make Game 1 fall on Monday, May 1.

Even with Embiid in the lineup, the second-seeded Celtics are going to be a tough task. Without the big fella, the Sixers' chances get slimmer and slimmer. Any extra day of rest the Sixers can get for their superstar is paramount as the team tries to advance beyond the second round for the first time in 22 years. 

MORE: Sixers second-round playoff series schedule

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