Joel Embiid will play and start in Game 3 of the Sixers‘ first-round Eastern Conference matchup against the Heat, writes Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Earlier today, Embiid had been listed as doubtful for tonight’s game before shootaround.
The Sixers had reportedly been working on a new protective mask for Embiid, as the black mask he has been wearing was not cleared by the league. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne tweets that Embiid’s new and approved mask has built-in protective eyewear mask and is made of carbon and polycarbonate.
Embiid has not played since March 28 when he collided with teammate Markelle Fultz during a home game against the Knicks. The 24-year-old suffered a concussion and underwent surgery three days later for an orbital fracture in his left eye. As Embiid’s recovery progressed — and he cleared the NBA’s concussion protocol before Game 2 — he was still yet to test himself beyond light contact in practice.
Before the injury ended his regular season, the 2017/18 All-Star averaged 22.9 PPG and 11.0 RPG in 63 games for the Sixers. With the series even at 1-1 entering Thursday’s Game 3 in Miami, a healthy Embiid could change the dynamic of the series for Philadelphia.