Embiid’s last remaining step to clear the protocol was to prove he could handle contact. He was just cleared for contract drills on Saturday, so Philadelphia officials are electing to be cautious (Twitter link).
It has only been 15 days since Embiid underwent surgery to fix a broken orbital bone. He was able to shoot with the team for about a half hour before Saturday’s game, but hasn’t found a protective mask that meets league approval.
The Sixers’ decision to hold out Embiid for another game was made easier by their dominance in the second half of the opener, which saw them roll to a 130-103 victory. Game 2 will take place Monday in Philadelphia before the series heads to Miami for Game 3 on Thursday and Game 4 on Saturday.
Embiid remained mostly injury free this season, playing in 63 games and averaging 22.9 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per night.