76ers’ Joel Embiid to Return from Knee Injury vs. Thunder After Missing 29 Games

Timothy LogoFeatured Columnist IVApril 2, 2024

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 31: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers, who sat out of the game due to injury, dribbles a ball in a break in play, against Toronto Raptors during the second half of their basketball game at the Scotiabank Arena on March 31, 2024 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)

Mark Blinch/Getty Images

Joel Embiid is back.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday that the defending MVP was expected to return for the Philadelphia 76ers matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday.

Embiid then confirmed his return on social media:

Philadelphia 76ers @sixers

The 30-year-old hasn’t played since Jan. 30 after undergoing left meniscus surgery. In his absence, the Sixers went just 11-18 and dropped from the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference to a Play-In Tournament spot, currently residing in eighth place.

When Embiid has played, however, the Sixers have gone an impressive 26-8. The star center was averaging 35.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.1 steals per game, shooting 53.3 percent from the field and 36.6 percent from three.

There were some questions about whether he’d be able to return at all during the regular season or for a potential postseason run, but those questions have now been answered.

It’s a huge development for Philly. The Sixers looked like a team that probably would have gotten bounced in the Play-In Tournament, but now they’ll be a major threat to advance to the playoffs and potentially make some noise as the No. 7 or 8 seed.

The goal will be to claim that No. 7 seed, avoid the Boston Celtics and hope Embiid—who has never gotten past the second round in his NBA career—can help fuel a deep run.

The Sixers aren’t 100 percent healthy now, as De’Anthony Melton remains sidelined with a back issue and Robert Covington (knee) hasn’t played since late December, hurting Philly’s depth. But the team’s guiding light is back, and the Eastern Conference playoff picture just got a lot more interesting.

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