NBA rumors: 76ers expecting Joel Embiid back before the playoffs

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Nick Nurse expressed optimism that we won't see reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid in street clothes on the sidelines for much longer.

Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers
Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

To no one’s surprise, it has been tough sledding for the Philadelphia 76ers since reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid suffered a displaced left meniscus injury that required surgery.

However, they may not be without him much longer.

76ers head coach Nick Nurse conveyed confidence regarding Embiid returning to the lineup before the end of the regular season, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

NBA Rumors: 76ers HC Nick Nurse expects Joel Embiid back before playoffs

“I think there’s a very good likelihood that he will return before the play-in, playoff,” Nurse told reporters before the Sixers game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.

However, Nurse went on to mention that there is still “no timetable” on a return date for Embiid, adding that he and the team are doing whatever they can to make sure the big man is “strong and confident and in shape and ramped up and all those wonderful words.” 

“It is not a question of if, but when,” per ESPN’s Senior NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski. “There’s a lot of optimism right now around Joel Embiid. I’m told that he is moving well, he has looked good on the court,” he added.

Embiid got hurt on Jan. 30 versus the Golden State Warriors when Jonathan Kuminga landed on his leg in an attempt to dive for a loose ball late in the fourth quarter of the game. He had been dealing with and monitoring a left knee issue before the instance, missing the 76ers' previous two games before going down again in Golden State. 

Since then, Philly has gone 10-17, falling from fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings to eighth and finding themselves in the NBA Play-In Tournament. But the return of Embiid could quickly change their rest-of-season outlook, as evidenced by their 26-8 record with him on the floor this season.

Embiid led the league in scoring when he went down, averaging 35.3 points per game, adding 11.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.8 blocks, and 1.1 steals with .533/.366/.883 shooting splits.