Joel Embiid

Sixers injury update: Joel Embiid a full participant at practice, 'hopefully' able to return next week

Sixers injury update: Joel Embiid a full participant at practice, 'hopefully' able to return next week

CAMDEN, N.J. — For the Sixers, seeing Joel Embiid fully participate in practice was a sight for sore eyes.

The team is coming off a rough loss in Toronto, lost another starter in Josh Richardson just four minutes into that contest and has a brutal nine-game slate before the All-Star break.

When Brett Brown was asked what changes with the All-Star center back at practice Friday, he was silent for a moment and then leaned in the reporter’s direction:

“A lot. I don’t mean to be smart, but say no more.”

This was the first time Embiid has fully participated in a practice since he tore the radial collateral ligament of the fourth metacarpal on his left hand back on Jan. 6. He had surgery in New York on Jan. 10 but has been seen before games running and getting shots up with his guide hand off the ball.

His return to practice comes on the heels of Embiid being named an All-Star starter for the third straight season. His participation in last year’s All-Star game became a hot button issue after he missed the following eight games with knee tendinitis.

While Embiid does think he’ll be ready for that game, that’s not what’s fueling his desire to get back on the court.

I'm doing the progress necessary,” Embiid said. “I feel great. My finger feels good. I'm not too concerned about what the All-Star game is gonna look like. Right now, we're sixth in the East so hopefully by next week I'm able to play.

A team spokesman said that Embiid would be re-evaluated Monday, leaving room for optimism that the team’s leading scorer could possibly play next week. 

In the times we’ve seen Embiid since his surgery, he’s sported some type of hard plastic splint. On Friday, it appeared to be more of a wrap as we saw him catching passes, dribbling with his left hand and using both hands to finish around the rim.

When he does return, Embiid said he will have to play with some sort of support on the finger. As he’s ramped up his activity, it seems like the focus now is on getting him game ready.

“I'm still getting used to it,” Embiid said. “From time to time during a game you get slapped on the hand so just going through practice and go through those scenarios and seeing how it goes, and then also getting back into it. I had a little bit of time off where I couldn't do anything with the surgery so I was a little bit winded. Just gotta get my conditioning back.”

And the other sticking point: conditioning. When Embiid has experienced long absences in the past, his fitness level has routinely been a cause for concern. Since the injury was to his hand and not his lower body, he’s been able to do more while he’s been out.

The team has taken heat in the past for Embiid perhaps not returning in the best condition.

Ultimately, Embiid is taking it upon himself.

“Well, me personally, as a professional, you gotta take care of yourself,” Embiid said. “You got to take care of your own business. From summertime to when the season started and to this moment, you got some bike, you got some elliptical, so every night, just got to come in and get some sweat on and your heart rate up.”

He’s getting healthy. It sounds like he’s motivated. Looks like we’ll find out soon enough.

He can be whatever he wants to be,” Brown said. “The ultimate aim, the ultimate goal that we all talk about is his legacy as an NBA champion. The other stuff is great, but it doesn’t even come close to the end game, the thing that to me is kind of everybody’s judgement day — are you an NBA champion? And there have been many great players and many great coaches who just have not been able to claim that. That’s my ambition, that’s my aspiration for him, to help him achieve that.

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Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons earn spots in top 15 for most popular NBA jerseys

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Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons earn spots in top 15 for most popular NBA jerseys

When you take a look at the current NBA standings, the Sixers are 3rd in the division and 6th in the east — and for some reason, it's being treated like it's the end of the world — even though there's still half a season left.

It's mind boggling.

Anyway, a new standing was released today, one that ranks the two most notable players for the Sixers in the top 15 of the league when it comes to the most popular NBA jerseys.

Out of 450 athletes? It's quite an impressive feat.

Both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons cracked the list with Embiid coming in at 9th overall and Simmons 11th. Their names are among the most notable and elite in the game — including LeBron James, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard and more.

These results are based on NBAStore.com sales from Oct. 2019 through Dec. 2019.

Top 15 Most Popular NBA Jerseys:
1. LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
3. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
4. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
5. James Harden, Houston Rockets
6. Luka Dončić, Dallas Mavericks
7. Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers
8. Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
9. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
10. Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets
11. Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
12. Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets
13. Russell Westbrook, Houston Rockets
14. Kemba Walker, Boston Celtics
15. Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans

In addition, the Sixers are also 3rd in the league when it comes to the most popular team merchandise.

Top 10 Most Popular Team Merchandise:
1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. Boston Celtics
3. Philadelphia 76ers
4. Toronto Raptors
5. Milwaukee Bucks
6. Golden State Warriors
7. Houston Rockets
8. Chicago Bulls
9. Miami Heat
10. Brooklyn Nets

Not too shabby.

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NBA All-Star voting 2020: Where Sixers' Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons stand as fan voting nears end

NBA All-Star voting 2020: Where Sixers' Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons stand as fan voting nears end

With fan voting set to end on Monday for the 2020 NBA All-Star Game, the Sixers' Joel Embiid sits third among Eastern Conference frontcourt players and Ben Simmons is eight among guards.

Below are returns from the Western Conference.

Pascal Siakam passed Embiid over the last week. Of course, Embiid suffered a torn ligament in his left ring finger on Jan. 6. He had surgery Friday and did non-contact drills following practice on Thursday.

If Embiid is selected for the All-Star Game and not able to play, Commissioner Adam Silver will name an injury replacement.

Embiid is a two-time All-Star starter, while Simmons is hoping for a second straight selection.

Fan voting has a 50 percent weight in deciding All-Star starters, with the votes of a panel of media members and players each accounting for 25 percent. All-Star reserves are decided by coaches' voting.

Starters will be named next Thursday, and reserves will be named a week later. The All-Star Game will be on Feb. 16 in Chicago.



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