76ers Coach Nick Nurse ‘Pretty Confident’ Joel Embiid Will Return Before Regular Season Ends

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Nick Nurse told NBA reporters that he’s “pretty confident” center Joel Embiid will return before the regular season ends. 

Joel Embiid, 76ers, Sixers, NBA

Embiid underwent surgery on his left knee to address a meniscus injury. The reigning MVP was diagnosed with a displaced flap of his meniscus.

“I think there’s always stages of how these things progress,” Nurse said, via ESPN. “Everyone wants to know, ‘Well how long is it going to be?’ And they give a wide range because of that because everyone heals differently. We’re just trying to take it as it comes, get him healthy and get him back when he’s ready to go.”

Embiid told NBA reporters on February 29 that he hopes to play again this season. The Sixers are 37-30. They are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings. 

If the season ended today, Philadelphia would face the Miami Heat in the 7-8 play-in tournament game. 

Embiid is averaging 35.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.8 blocks this season while shooting 53.3% from the field, 36.6% from beyond the arc and 88.3% from the free-throw line. He has 27 double-doubles and two triple-doubles in 34 games.

Embiid will not win his second straight MVP Award since he will fall short of the NBA’s 65-game minimum to earn postseason awards. According to NBA insider Sam Amick of The Athletic, Embiid was dealing with left knee soreness all season.

Embiid signed a four-year, $213 million extension with the Sixers in August 2021. He’s making $47.6 million this season and will make $51.4 million in 2024-25. 

The Sixers have never advanced past the second round of the playoffs in the Embiid era. Embiid has career averages of 27.8 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 0.9 steals and 1.7 blocks. He’s fourth in NBA history in points per game.

Embiid was spotted greeting teammates on the court after Philadelphia’s 109-98 win over Charlotte on Saturday night, but he was not in the team’s locker room when NBA reporters were allowed in after the game.

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