Throughout the day on Friday, clues to a return of Joel Embiid have multiplied. And the pivot of the Sixers was therefore indeed present in the warm-up then in the in-between, despite a torn ligament in the hand, but also now a fracture in the forehead! No game time limit at home, and he finished with 18 points on 5 of 12 on shots and 11 rebounds in 36 minutes in the Sixers’ wide victory.
« As soon as it happened, and we understood what it was, I never imagined not coming back » he explained at a press conference.“I just thought about what I was going to do to make sure I was back anytime in this series, whether it was Game 1 or Game 2, Game 3 or Game 4. I was really doing everything possible to try to come back. »
« That’s why he’s the MVP »
In fact, the ball was in the NBA’s court since it was essentially concussion protocol that was preventing Joel Embiid from playing. Thursday, he received the green light from the league doctors, and then he resumed his mask already worn in 2018. A 45-minute warm-up, and it was good!
« I can’t imagine how difficult it is » testifies James Harden. “I know what it’s like to have a concussion, and he comes out of it with a swollen face, and he still has a hand problem. But it was time to play. It was time to win. We are in the playoffs. Joel knew how much we needed him, and he was there. His dominance on both sides of the ball is very important for this team, it is very valuable. That’s why he’s the MVP and we fed on that and we have to keep pushing. »
« What I’m proud of is the defense »
A recovery in such a context, when victory is imperative, is exceptional. The good news for Philly is that Joel Embiid promises it will be even better on Sunday for Game 4.
“Frankly, I found that I didn’t have a lot of energy. I haven’t been good. I can do much better” admits the Cameroonian. “I was really trying to get out of it and use my presence on the pitch as a decoy. What I’m proud of is defense. I think that’s where my presence is really felt and that’s really one of the main reasons why I thought I could have a huge impact. »