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Joel Embiid unlikely to play first playoff game

165   //    12 Apr 2018, 05:57 IST
JoelEmbiid - cropped
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid

Doctors are pleased with Joel Embiid's recovery from a fractured orbital bone in his left eye, but the All-Star is unlikely to be cleared in time for game one of the Philadelphia 76ers' opening NBA playoff series.

Embiid, who suffered the injury when he and Sixers team-mate Markelle Fultz collided on March 28, was fitted for a protective facemask an practised at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Wednesday. 

"I just got to take it day-by-day," Embiid told reporters. "Obviously I want to play, but right now I feel like I'm not ready yet ... with the way it's been progressing, hopefully I'll be back soon. Unlikely [that I'll be back for game one], but there's still a chance.

"Just based on the way I've been feeling the past couple days and how well I've progressed, unlikely. But we're going to see how it feels."

According to the red-hot 76ers, there is still no timetable for Embiid's return and he has yet to be officially removed from the concussion protocol.

"I think everybody knows me, and everybody knows that I love playing," he said. "If it was my decision, I would probably play. Actually, I wouldn't say that because I don't think I'm ready to play, because it still doesn't feel all the way right.

"Like I said, it's unlikely, but you never know what can happen, maybe one of these days I'm going to wake up and it's all going to be gone. But we just got to see how it feels day-by-day."

Embiid made his first All-Star team this season and leads the 76ers in points (23.2) and rebounds (11.1) per game. 

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