Joel Embiid has inarguably been the best player for the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2020-21 NBA season and is a finalist for the NBA MVP award along with Nikola Jokic and Stephen Curry. Embiid's Philadelphia 76ers will lock horns with the Atlanta Hawks tonight in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, but the Cameroonian big's status is still unclear.
Will Joel Embiid be able to suit up against the Atlanta Hawks in Eastern Conference semi-finals clash tonight?
Philadelphia 76ers' starting center Joel Embiid is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Hawks. He endured a small meniscus tear against the Washington Wizards, and there is a low probability that fans will see him on the court against the Hawks in Game 1.
Embiid will be assessed before the game, and a final decision will be made on the basis of how he moves during the warm-ups. Doc Rivers certainly wouldn't want to risk his best player health in the long run, as the Philadelphia 76ers have their sights set on the Larry O'Brien championship.
Doc Rivers recently expressed optimism over the MVP candidate's participation in the opening game vs the 5th seed in the Eastern Conference:
"He's got to go through his treatment," Rivers said. "As far as when we were doing shooting and stuff like that, he looked great. It's too early [to rule him out]. I don't want to say one way or the other. We'll just find that out."
Joel Embiid was injured in Game 4 of the first-round series against the Washington Wizards. The diagnosis revealed that Joel Embiid had a minor meniscus tear. The Sixers ended up losing that game, but took care of business in the very next game, completing a gentleman's sweep.
However, even if Joel Embiid doesn't take the court for the first game, the Philadelphia 76ers certainly possess the personnel to prevail over the Atlanta Hawks. Ben Simmons showed a glimpse of what he can do even without Embiid on the court in Game 5 against the Wizards, ending the match with a stellar stat line of 19 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists.
Power forward Tobias Harris looked formidable against the Wizards as well, averaging 25 points and 10 rebounds on a respectable 38% shooting from the deep.
Even in Joel Embiid's absence, the Philadelphia 76ers defense is likely to be effective on the night. However, Simmons and Harris will have to shoulder the offensive load in case the dominant big doesn't play.
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