The Philadelphia 76ers have been without superstar Joel Embiid for multiple weeks after he tested positive for COVID-19.
In his absence, the Sixers have struggled greatly, and it’s clear that the team needs him on the floor in order to stay afloat in the Eastern Conference.
Fortunately, it sounds like the big man could be nearing a return. There’s reportedly “optimism” that he could be on the floor for Philadelphia’s game on Saturday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Sources: There’s optimism 76ers star Joel Embiid will return on Saturday vs. Minnesota following a three-week absence due to COVID-19. Embiid has been ramping up this week. If unable on Saturday, second game of home stand (Monday vs. Orlando) is possible.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 24, 2021
Even with Ben Simmons unavailable, the Sixers looked like one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference before Embiid tested positive for the virus. The team is 7-2 when Embiid plays this season.
They’re just 10-8 overall, however, which says a lot about how valuable the 27-year-old is. He’ll look to return to action and help his squad get back on track.
Over nine games this season, Embiid is averaging 21.4 points, 9.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. He’s shooting 43.5 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from beyond the arc.
The four-time All-Star has established himself as one of the league’s top players in recent years, and his return will likely be a huge relief for Philadelphia.
It remains to be seen how far Embiid will be able to carry the team without much of a supporting cast, but there is still a lot of time for dominoes to fall this season. The Sixers could have a different look at some point in the near future if Simmons either returns to game action or gets traded for some new talent.