The Philadelphia 76ers didn’t need Joel Embiid for Game 1 of their first round series against the Miami Heat on Saturday. The third seed in the East torched their conference rival by 27 points, 130-103, as Ben Simmons nearly marked a triple-double in his first playoff game.
Still, Embiid is on his way back from an orbital fracture whether the rest of the East likes it or not. While the Sixers center entertained fans pregame while wearing a “Phantom of the Opera” style mask against the Heat, the team now says Embiid is one step closer to suiting up after clearing concussion protocol.
Embiid last played on March 28 in a game against the New York Knicks. He collided with teammate Markelle Fultz while going after a ball.
Philadelphia will still be without Embiid when they take on the Heat in the city of brotherly love on Monday, but it now seems likely he’ll see the court sooner rather than later.
Game 3 of the series isn’t until Thursday, which gives Embiid five full days after clearing the protocol to get ready to play again.