Joel Embiid struggled to stay healthy to start the 2022-23 NBA season. After missing his first game a few weeks ago with knee pain, Embiid returned to the floor the following night.
However, after returning for a match, Embiid was back on the pitch as he was dealing with a non-COVID illness, which turned out to be the flu. Embiid’s absence due to illness lasted three games. The big man returned to action in the game against the Phoenix Suns earlier this week.
In recent games, Embiid has averaged 36 minutes per game. Saturday night in the rematch against the Atlanta Hawks, Embiid played a season-high 40 minutes. Considering it was the first night of a back-to-back game, many speculated in advance that Embiid might miss Sunday’s game against the Utah Jazz.
When Embiid was spotted limping and grabbing his shoulder throughout the game against the Hawks on Saturday, it added more uncertainty to his playing status for the second straight night.
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After the win over the Hawks, Embiid mentioned he planned to play Sunday but seemed uncertain due to his recent setback in the game.
“I plan to play, but I’ll see how he reacts tomorrow,” Embiid said. “It’s quite painful, but we’ll see.”
According to the Sixers afternoon injury report, Embiid is available for Sunday’s game. While that indicates he’s set to play for the Jazz game, his playing status is something to watch as the big man is yet to take the floor for pre-game warm-ups to see how his ankle feels after dealing with pain on Saturday.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for All76ers, a Sports Illustrated channel. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.