Joel Embiid works out, expected to remain doubtful for Game 2 vs. Celtics
Joel Embiid worked out Tuesday, a day after missing Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Doc Rivers told reporters that despite the progress, he doesn't expect Embiid's status to change from doubtful ahead of Wednesday's Game 2.
“There’s no change in his status,” Rivers said. “I’m assuming it’s doubtful. ... But he's working out today. He's over there with some of our guys right now, and I'll get the report when he gets back. But the fact that he's doing that is a step forward for sure."
Embiid hasn't played since injuring his right knee April 20 in Game 3 of Philadelphia's first-round series against the Brooklyn Nets. He was later diagnosed with a sprained lateral collateral ligament and reportedly underwent platelet-rich plasma treatment to aid his recovery. He missed Game 4 of Philadelphia's sweep of the Nets and Monday's Game 1 against the Celtics after being ruled out on game day.
Despite playing without their MVP finalist, the 76ers secured a 119-115 road win over the Celtics behind a 45-point effort from James Harden. The upset put Philadelphia in control of home-court advantage and lightened the pressure on the 76ers for Game 2. At worst, they'll return to Philadelphia for Games 3 and 4 with the series tied 1-1.
Rivers said Monday's win won't play a factor in the decision about whether Embiid plays Game 2.
“It’s just health-based,” Rivers told reporters. “If he can play, he plays. If he can’t, he can’t. If it’s 50/50, we would probably err on the other side [of not playing] because we’ve done that all year. We’re not gonna take any chances.”
Embiid told ESPN that how his knee responds to the workout Wednesday will determine his status for Game 2.
"That's the whole key," he said. "That's why we're doing it. Because you have to do it the day before to see if the next day, if there's increased swelling — then even if he feels good, it's a no. So that's what we'll find out tomorrow."
While Harden stepped up on the offensive end in Embiid's absence, Embiid's defensive presence was sorely missed. The Celtics shot 17 of 20 from the field in the first quarter, which included five open dunks and 26 points in the paint. For the game, they shot 58.7% from the field.
In addition to winning the scoring title (33.1 points per game), Embiid is a dominant defensive force in the post. A three-time All-Defensive Team member, Embiid blocked 1.7 shots per game in the regular season.