Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Jordan, Nurse, Smart

Sixers center Joel Embiid appears to be making progress in his recovery from an orbital fracture and mild concussion, per Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link). Embiid missed Game 1 of the team’s series against Miami and is expected to miss Game 2, though he could return after that.

Head coach Doc Rivers said today that Embiid, who suffered his injuries against Toronto in Game 6 last round, is “feeling a lot better.” However, Rivers added that he doesn’t “want to give false hope either.” Philadelphia missed the star center’s presence in Game 1, as the team lost the rebounding edge 47-37 and lost the game by 14 points.

Embiid, an MVP candidate, is coming off a season in which he averaged a career-high 30.6 points, 11.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. He also made the All-Star team for a fifth consecutive year. It’s clear the Sixers will need his presence in order to make a lengthy playoff run.

Here are some other notes from the Atlantic:

  • As Embiid continues his rehab, the Sixers plan to keep DeAndre Jordan in his starting role, Tim Bontemps of relays“We like DJ, we’re going to keep starting him whether you like it or not,” Rivers said. “That’s what we’re gonna do because our guys believe in him. It’s funny, at halftime, we asked our key guys, we were thinking about it because I thought Paul Millsap gave us decent minutes, and to a man, that’s where they wanted to go.”
  • Raptors coach Nick Nurse admitted the team could use more depth next season, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes. Specifically, Nurse identified catch-and-shoot players and athletic wings as pieces he’d like to see the team pursue. “The more quality players you have the better chance you’re going to have to win,” he said as part of a larger statement.
  • Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston explores how the Celtics could adjust if Marcus Smart (thigh bruises) isn’t 100% healthy. Smart, the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, finished with 10 points, six assists and two steals in the team’s Game 1 loss, shooting 3-of-11. His defense is especially important against the Bucks, who start Jrue Holiday at point guard. Holiday scored 25 points in Game 1.
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