MIAMI — Joel Embiid is back.
Embiid will play Thursday in Game 3 of the Sixers’ first-round series against the Heat, which is tied 1-1.
The big man has been sidelined since March 28 because of a concussion and left orbital fracture. He cleared the NBA concussion protocol but the fracture had kept him out.
The Sixers have been looking forward to his return as his absence was glaring in their Game 2 loss.
“He does everything,” Marco Belinelli said pregame.
There likely will be an adjustment period for Embiid. He will have to get used to playing with a protective mask.
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He also will have his conditioning tested in a physical matchup. Embiid has said he falls out of game shape when he does not play consistently. In this case, he has been out for three weeks.
Then there’s the style of basketball. The Sixers have been playing at a faster pace with more three-point shooting. Brett Brown has said he plans to morph the pre-injury and post-injury styles together when Embiid returns.
“Probably more assists for me," Ben Simmons said with a laugh. "No, but he just changes the game, gets other guys shots, rebounds the ball, blocks shots. He really does everything.”