76ers

Joel Embiid sits out Sixers' Game 3 win over Nets, though he says knee injury is getting better 'slowly but surely'

Joel Embiid sits out Sixers' Game 3 win over Nets, though he says knee injury is getting better 'slowly but surely'

NEW YORK — Joel Embiid sat and watched the Sixers’ shootaround Thursday morning in slippers.

About an hour before tip-off, he walked into the locker room, changed into warm-up gear, took questions from a hovering group of reporters as Boban Marjanovic stretched on a yoga mat behind him, then did a light workout on the Barclays Center floor. The whole scene was strange but, given Embiid’s recent history, it wouldn’t have been remotely surprising if it culminated in him playing in Game 3. 

Everyone asked about Embiid’s status before and after the game — from Brett Brown to Marjanovic to Embiid himself — stuck with the line of him being a “game-time decision” besides Greg Monroe, the man who stepped into Embiid's spot in the starting lineup in the Sixers’ 131-115 win over the Nets (see observations). 

“They told me this morning at shootaround that most likely Joel would be out so he was going to start me,” Monroe told reporters. “So I knew right away in the morning and was able to get mentally focused.”

Embiid attempted to describe his left knee soreness, which he again classified as “tendinitis.”

It’s just about working on your strength and just getting in the practice facility or whatever, basically. Just trying to do whatever you can do to stay strong. At the end of the day, what cures it is just loading. You gotta load in the right way. Can’t do too much and then can’t also sit out and do nothing. It’s hard to manage, but gotta do it. Gotta push through the pain and see where it goes. 

Though “pushing through the pain” doesn’t sound like an ideal situation for a team’s best player, Embiid said he’s making progress.

“It is becoming better, slowly but surely,” he said. “We just gotta be smart about how we handle it every single day. I’m sure these guys wouldn’t let me get on the court if there was a chance of something bad happening. Gotta Trust The Process.”

The confounding part of Embiid’s knee pain, at least as he describes it, is the unpredictability. The fact he had an extra day off before Game 3 didn’t automatically increase the odds of him playing.

“Kind of,” Embiid said of whether the extra day was helpful. “The body reacts differently every day. I might feel good after the game and then in two days, maybe feel it. So I just gotta manage it.”

The one certainty with Embiid is his importance to the Sixers. 

As Brown said before Game 2, when game planning with Embiid and without Embiid, “There is night and then there is day.”

Monroe and Marjanovic combined for 23 points and 21 rebounds in Game 3, but they're likely not a long-term solution if the Sixers aim to win the Eastern Conference. 

“We definitely need him,” Jimmy Butler said of Embiid. “We’re capable of winning some games, but we’d all definitely rather have Jo out there.”

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Allen Iverson is all of us watching the Sixers

Allen Iverson is all of us watching the Sixers

Allen Iverson is Philadelphia.

From his reckless style on the court to his famous ear cupping for the crowd to kissing the floor in his return as a Denver Nugget, Iverson’s lasting impact on the city is immeasurable.

A big part of the reason for that connection is that The Answer always wore his heart on his sleeve.

Now as a fan of his former team, Iverson frequently sits courtside — and still lets his emotions show.

As part of Amazon’s All or Nothing series, which followed around the Eagles this past season, you saw offensive linemen Brandon Brooks and Isaac Seumalo sitting courtside next to A.I.

The microphone picked up some gold.

(Brooks’ reaction is also priceless.)

With all due respect to the Eagles, this might have been the best moment of the series so far.

Allen Iverson, as Philly as it gets.

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Watch Allen Iverson, Dwyane Wade share vulnerable All-Star moment over Kobe

Watch Allen Iverson, Dwyane Wade share vulnerable All-Star moment over Kobe

A huge portion of the weekend's NBA All-Star Game was dedicated to remembering Lakers legend and Philly-area native Kobe Bryant, from the touching pre-game tribute to the players' jersey numbers.

There were plenty of Bryant jerseys among the weekend's attendees, too, including Sixers legend Allen Iverson, who sported a No. 8 yellow Bryant jersey during Sunday's All-Star Game.

Iverson was interacting with some fans at the United Center in Chicago when he bumped into Dwyane Wade, and the two shared a beautifully unscripted, vulnerable moment. Incredibly, one fan captured the scene, and video of the two legends' interaction surfaced Tuesday afternoon:

That's something special.

Wade and Iverson's NBA careers overlapped for seven years, including six shared All-Star Games. Bryant entered the league the same year as Iverson, and Wade made his final All-Star Game the year Bryant retired.

The three spent so much shared time in the league, creating their own stories and navigating their own paths, and it's an absolute tragedy that Bryant wasn't in Chicago this past weekend to enjoy yet another show from the league's stars.

Moments like this one help remind fans that, while players like Bryant, Wade, and Iverson often seem superhuman, they're ultimately people like us, and they process grief just like we do.

Good on Wade and Iverson for being there for each other.

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