More Sports:

April 25, 2023

Report: Joel Embiid has sprained LCL, Sixers hopeful he can still play second round

The Sixers hope they'll have Embiid back for the early part of the second round, but per reports, he'll be playing through visible injury if he does.

The Sixers are hopeful they'll have Joel Embiid back for their second-round playoff series, but if and when he does return, he'll be playing through visible injury. 

First reported by ESPN's Ramona Shelburne on Monday and confirmed by NBC10's John Clark Tuesday morning, Embiid has a sprained LCL in his right knee, which was suffered from a fall underneath the rim during Game 3 in Brooklyn last week. 

He didn't play the clinching Game 4 on Saturday, but with the first-round sweep of the Nets buying the Sixers increasingly valuable recovery time, there's optimism Embiid can still be back to play the early part of the second round, though he will likely have to do it with a knee brace on and through clear pain.

Embiid got hurt on April 20. The Sixers' second-round series, depending on the outcome of Celtics-Hawks, at the earliest, would start April 29

"That's right in that window where he could come back in time," Shelburne said Monday on ESPN's NBA Today broadcast. "That's why [head coach Doc Rivers] says 'I don't know, maybe? Depends on how he recovers from that.' But what kind of Joel Embiid are we going to see?" 

Without their star center on Saturday, the Sixers managed against an overwhelmed Brooklyn team to close out round 1, but likely to face rival Boston next – who leads Atlanta 3-1 in their first-round series – Philly won't have it nearly as easy.

To even have a chance, they'll absolutely need Embiid, who's been a game-breaker all season, on the floor. 

Otherwise, and especially against a Celtics team that has stopped them short numerous times in the past, the Sixers are staring down the prospect of yet another second-round exit. 

Embiid playing, however, will also come with concerns about how effective he can still be with the injury and how much worse the knee could stand to get should he take another bump. 

MORE: When does the Sixers’ second round series start?

Follow Nick on Twitter: @itssnick

Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports