It’s been a special week so far for Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers.
On Monday, the team stole Game 1 of its second-round playoff series from the Boston Celtics on the road despite being without Embiid. On Tuesday, the superstar big man was named this season’s MVP. Now, he’s reportedly on track to return to the lineup for the Sixers in their Game 2 battle on Wednesday.
After winning MVP last night, during a quick 76ers celebration, Joel Embiid turned to the team and said: “I’m back.”
Embiid is indeed on track to return tonight in Game 2 vs. Celtics barring setbacks, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 3, 2023
This news qualifies as a “pleasant surprise” for the Sixers, as there were reportedly concerns that he’d miss the first two games of the series.
Source: Joel Embiid is experiencing a lot of pain in that right knee. His LCL sprain is typically a 4-6 week recovery. I’m told it would be a pleasant surprise if he were able to play in either of the first two games in Boston.
— Jason Dumas (@JDumasReports) April 29, 2023
If Embiid is indeed able to play in Game 2, it’ll mark his first appearance since Game 3 of Philadelphia’s first-round series against the Brooklyn Nets.
In the first round, Embiid averaged just 20.0 points per game on underwhelming efficiency, but he’ll look to make a statement during his team’s series against Boston.
Game 2 suddenly presents the Sixers with a big opportunity to put the Celtics in a major hole. Philadelphia got the job done without Embiid in Game 1, and now that he’s on track to return, the team has to feel pretty good about its current position.
In the regular season, Embiid averaged 33.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game while shooting 54.8 percent from the field and 33.0 percent from deep. The six-time All-Star was very emotional after taking home MVP honors on Tuesday, and one has to imagine that he’s thrilled to get back on the court.
The moment Joel Embiid became MVP 🔥 pic.twitter.com/9Su49UhsNe
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) May 2, 2023
Regardless of the Game 2 outcome between the Sixers and Celtics, home-court advantage in the series now belongs to Philadelphia. That won’t change unless the Sixers lose a game at home.
Boston is still considered one of the most dangerous teams in the Eastern Conference, but the Sixers are giving themselves a great shot at pulling off a major second-round upset. Some Celtics fans are already viewing Game 2 as a must-win affair.
The winner of the Sixers-Celtics series will face the winner of the Miami Heat-New York Knicks series, which is currently tied at one game apiece. The 2023 NBA title is completely up for grabs in a season that’s been full of twists and turns.