It’s safe to say Joel Embiid did not agree with the Sixers’ decision to hold him out of Game 2 of their first-round playoff series against the Heat.
Embiid took to social media minutes after the Sixers' 113-103 loss (see observations), and he did not mince words. The All-Star center made it abundantly clear he's unhappy with the team for taking overly precautionary measures with his health, and threw an F-bomb in there to really drive the point home.
“F------ sick and tired of being babied,” Embiid wrote on his Instagram story.
Despite clearing the NBA’s concussion protocol prior to Game 2, the Sixers determined holding Embiid out was “best for Joel’s health,” coach Brett Brown revealed pregame. There is currently no timetable for Embiid's return.
Here's what Brown had to say postgame (more here):
He just wants to play basketball. He wants to be with his team, he wants to play in front of the fans and he wants to see this through. When he’s not able to do that, he gets frustrated, and I respect his frustrations. It’s born out of him wanting to be with his team. And so the medical side, different reasons, I’m not going to go there. But I do know the spirit he delivered that [Instagram story] you just talked about reflects my conversations with him. It’s completely driven by team, competitiveness, I want to play basketball, that type of feeling more than anything.
Meanwhile, Embiid had this to say to ESPN:
Joel Embiid to ESPN on the frustration behind his IG post from earlier, “I promised the city the playoffs and I’m not on the court and I may not be on Thursday either. I wish more than anything that I was out there. I just want the green light to play.”— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) April 17, 2018
Though Embiid is in the clear as far as concussion symptoms are concerned, he’s still recovering from a broken orbital bone that will likely force him to wear a protective mask for the foreseeable future.
This is not the first time Embiid has clashed with the Sixers over injuries. Earlier this season, he fought against minutes restrictions and the team holding him out of back-to-backs after returning from a torn meniscus.
Embiid eventually won both of those battles, so don’t be surprised if he’s back on the court for Game 3 in Miami, especially with the series now tied 1-1.