Joel Embiid has been out for eight games after coming down with a breakthrough case of COVID-19, and without him the 76ers have gone 2-6 (with a tough matchup at Golden State tonight).
Philadelphia needs their MVP back, which is why the report of Embiid possibly making his return Saturday was celebrated by 76ers fans. From Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Sources: There’s optimism 76ers star Joel Embiid will return on Saturday vs. Minnesota following a three-week absence due to COVID-19. Embiid has been ramping up this week. If unable on Saturday, second game of home stand (Monday vs. Orlando) is possible.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 24, 2021
Because he had symptoms, Embiid needs two negative tests 24 hours apart to return to the court. Beyond that, players are not supposed to work out while recovering from the virus, which adds some conditioning time after he is cleared by doctors.
Embiid is averaging 21.4 points and 9.6 rebounds a game this season, and he anchors the team’s defense. A clearer example of Embiid’s value to the 76ers: When he is on the court, Philly outscores its opponents by 9 points per 100 possessions, but when he is off the court they get outscored (-0.9 per 100). The 76ers were 8-2 when Embiid tested positive and have gone 2-6 since (other key players, such as Tobias Harris, also have missed time in that window).