CAMDEN, N.J. — Joel Embiid got back on the court with the Sixers on Tuesday, a step toward his return that still remains uncertain.
“It’s progressing,” Brett Brown said of Embiid’s health. “When that ultimately leads to an answer he’s playing, I don’t believe is that far away, but we’ll learn more over the next 48 hours I suspect.”
Embiid took to Instagram Monday after the Sixers’ game two loss to state his desire to return for the first round series, which is tied 1-1. He has not played since March 28 when he suffered a concussion and left orbital fracture during a collision with Markelle Fultz.
Embiid has not been cleared to play in Game 3 Thursday, though that could change. After Tuesday, The Sixers will practice Wednesday as well as hold a morning shootaround before their next contest.
“He’ll be doing some stuff with shooting and scripting really for the first time with his team,” Brown said of Embiid’s non-contact activity Tuesday. “But what that translates to in regards to when’s he going to play for us again on a court, we don’t know.”
Embiid’s absence was glaring in Game 2. The Sixers had won nine straight without him, but could not overcome the Heat’s physicality and restricting their three-point shots (7 for 36) that had been imperative in their recent success. The Sixers’ offense was limited without Embiid’s low-post presence. Brown felt it most in the second quarter when the Heat took over the game.
“We were that poor in the second,” he said. “It was like a 34-13 swing. We had no semblance of order offensively, especially that his presence. His availability makes the world go round.”
The Sixers have started Amir Johnson and Ersan Ilyasova against the Heat to find matchup challenges. They know their best advantage will be Embiid.
"If you gave me the choice of this uncertainty vs. the possibility, I’ll take the possibility all day every day," Brown said. "Joel Embiid makes us different. We all know this. We all understand this."