Center Joel Embiid might not be ready to play when the playoffs begin this weekend, Philadelphia 76ers general manager Elton Brand told reporters Wednesday. Brand first said he's "optimistic" Embiid would be ready to play in the postseason opener before admitting that the All-Star centre's availability is not yet a certainty.
Embiid has battled left knee soreness in the second half of the year, missing five of the final seven games of the regular season, including Wednesday night's finale against the Chicago Bulls. He also sat out the first eight games after the All-Star break, and he has been bothered by his back at times.
Despite the missed time, the 25-year-old played a career-high 64 games this season, averaging 27.5 points, 13.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game while earning his second All-Star appearance. Due to various injuries, he has played in just 158 total games since being drafted in 2014. Locked into the No. 3 seed in the East, the 76ers will face either the Brooklyn Nets or Orlando Magic in the first round of the playoffs.
(With inputs from agencies.)