The Miami Heat find themselves with a 2-0 series lead against the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals after winning a pair of games in which Joel Embiid did not play. Embiid took an elbow to the face in the final game of Philly’s first round series against the Toronto Raptors, which caused an orbital fracture and a concussion.
The hope has been that Embiid, who is also dealing with a torn right thumb ligament, would be able to clear concussion protocol and suit up for Friday night’s Game 3, the series’ first in Philadelphia. After originally being listed as out earlier in the day despite clearing the protocol, Embiid was upgraded to doubtful around lunchtime. And after Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that Embiid intended to go prior to his warmup, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that Embiid is, indeed, going to play.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) May 6, 2022
Sixers star Joel Embiid will return for Game 3 vs. Miami tonight, sources tell ESPN. Doc Rivers said he could be limited in minutes, because of minimal conditioning in the past week.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 6, 2022
Doc Rivers has elected to start DeAndre Jordan in the first two games of the series, a decision which has come under heavy scrutiny as the Heat have made it a point to go at the veteran center. While going to Paul Reed and playing small ball have both had their benefits for the Sixers, neither option can match having Embiid on the floor, assuming he is not so physically compromised that he’s unable to contribute.
Game 3 between the Sixers and Heat is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.