The Sixers anticipate that they will have All-Star center Joel Embiid back in action as early as this Saturday against the Timberwolves, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. The 27-year-old has been unavailable for Philadelphia since March 12, when he suffered a bone bruise in his left knee.
Embiid had been a frontrunner for 2020/21 season MVP honors before a knee injury waylaid him for three weeks. Across 31 games thus far with Philadelphia this year, the seven-footer out of Kansas is averaging 29.9 PPG (a career high), to go along with 11.5 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.4 BPG and 1.2 SPG. His shooting has grown by leaps and bounds this season, as his slash line of .525/.422/.859 (all career-bests) reflects.
The Sixers have held their own in Embiid’s absence. Philadelphia boasts an 8-8 record across the games Embiid has missed thus far this season, thanks to his fellow All-Star Ben Simmons and the contributions of starters Tobias Harris, Danny Green and Seth Curry (though Curry, too, has missed time), plus intriguing young players like Tyrese Maxey and Shake Milton. The team also recently added sharpshooting veteran point guard George Hill to help shore up its backcourt depth.
At 32-15, Philadelphia is currently perched atop of the Eastern Conference. With a healthy Embiid in tow this spring, the Sixers could be a threat to make their first NBA Finals in 20 years.