Sixers Notes: Embiid, Hield, Lowry, Melton, Harris

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Sixers star Joel Embiid said that while “everything has to go right” in his recovery process in order to return to action this season, he still hopes to come back at some point (Twitter video link via Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer).

There’s really no timeline,” Embiid said. ” … You can never tell how the body reacts, especially once you start ramping up. So, it all depends on how it feels. If it feels great, then that’s good. And if it doesn’t feel like it’s right, then you gotta keep going.”

When asked why he wanted to return this season after undergoing knee surgery to repair his torn lateral meniscus, Embiid said his motivation was simple.

I just love playing basketball,” he said. “I want to be on the floor as much as possible. I only have about 20 years to do this, so any chance that I get, I want to be out on the floor. It doesn’t really matter where we are (in the standings), just want to play as much as we can and try to help us.”

Embiid also confirmed that he still plans to play for Team USA in the Olympics this summer.

It’s the same mindset: If I feel good, I’m playing,” Embiid said. “If it doesn’t feel right, then (I’ve) gotta make those tough decisions. … It’s all about how I feel.”

Here’s more on the Sixers:

  • Embiid admitted he’d been battling knee pain for some time leading up to the last game he played in late January, when Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga fell on his knee while diving for a loose ball, per PHLY Sixers (Twitter video link). “For really, two months, I was not at 100 percent,” Embiid. “I was not even close to it. And I just felt the need to give it my all to the team, and just wanted to win because I know I can add that to this basketball team.” Still, Embiid said he wouldn’t have changed his approach.
  • The seven-time All-Star also praised Philadelphia’s moves before and after the trade deadline, particularly the additions of Buddy Hield and Kyle Lowry, saying it was “as good as (the front office) could do” under the circumstances, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Embiid said he was excited to develop synergy with Hield and added that Lowry is still “really freaking good” despite being at the tail end of his illustrious career.
  • After battling a back injury that caused him to miss 18 straight games, guard De’Anthony Melton returned to action last Friday against Cleveland. However, he exited Tuesday’s loss to Boston after just nine minutes due to back spasms and has been ruled out for Friday’s contest vs. Charlotte, head coach Nick Nurse told reporters, including Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).
  • Veteran forward Tobias Harris has been in an offensive rut of late, averaging just 10.8 PPG on 31.3% shooting from the floor over the past five games. Nurse discussed what he’d like to see from Harris going forward, according to PHLY Sixers (via Twitter). “I want him to just let it come to him a little bit, and I certainly want him to do other things,” Nurse said. “You still gotta defend, and rebound, and draw offense for other people, set screens, and make sure it’s not, like, totally wrapped up in trying to get off the slump. I think he’s doing that.”
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