Sixers center Joel Embiid feared his season was over when he injured his knee last month, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Embiid landed awkwardly after a dunk and his knee bent backward, causing a hyperextension that forced him to miss 10 games.
“When I got hurt and laying on the floor in Washington, I honestly thought I was done,” he said. “I thought my season was done. You know, the pain, you know how bad it was hurting, I just knew that it was something worse than we saw. (Afterward) I was just crying and asking myself, ‘Why me? Why does it always happen to me?’ When everything seems to be going well for my team and myself, something always has to happen.”
Embiid returned to the court Saturday night, playing 29 minutes and posting 24 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in a win over the Timberwolves. With 23 games remaining, Embiid can still be a strong MVP contender if he avoids any more injuries.
“(Friday) was really the first time I went full court since I got hurt,” he said. “So it’s going to take a while to get back to myself. But my body feels great, obviously game shape is different than how your body feels. But the main thing is my body feels great. I’ve just got to keep putting up these games and these practices and I will be back to where I was before I got hurt.”
There’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- Sixers coach Doc Rivers refused to respond to comments from Vincent Poirier, who told a French newspaper that Rivers didn’t reach out to him after a trade last week, Pompey adds in a separate story. Poirier was sent to the Knicks, who waived him three days later. “I wish someone had told me, ‘We were wrong. You can’t play with us,’” Poirier said. “I like it when things are straight. The coach didn’t even send a message although I know he sent (one to) others. I’m not asking him to give me compliments, but just a message to wish me good luck.”
- Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports questions whether the Celtics should have invested in Terry Rozier two years ago instead of signing Kemba Walker. Although Walker got off to a strong start in Boston, he has been slowed by knee issues this season and is still owed $73.6MM over the next two years. Rozier is having a career-best season with the Hornets, averaging 20.3 points per game.
- Gary Trent Jr. looks like a perfect fit with the Raptors, writes Scott Rafferty of NBA Canada. In five games since being acquired from the Trail Blazers, Trent is scoring 16.8 PPG and shooting 43.2% from three-point range.