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Joel Embiid Injury Update: Return Date Revealed for the 76ers’ MVP

Published 04/01/2024, 10:19 AM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

The news that so many fans of the Philadelphia 76ers were so eagerly waiting has finally arrived. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, “Joel Embiid is nearing a return and expected to play this week. The reigning MVP has been out since January 30 with a left meniscus injury.” Joel Embiid only played 34 games this season, before a meniscus tear ruled him out for almost two months.

Before injuring his knee, Joel Embiid averaged 35.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game. The Sixers have severely missed Embiid, as they have only 14 out of 41 matches that the reigning MVP has missed. His return would give a massive boost to the 76ers’ dwindling postseason hopes. Shams Charania of The Athletic has also provided some information regarding Embiid’s match fitness. According to Shams, “The reigning NBA MVP has positively completed multiple five-on-five scrimmage sessions in recent days.”

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The Philadelphia 76ers face the Western Conference first seed, the OKC Thunder, in their next game on 2nd April. However, Joel Embiid’s status for Tuesday’s game against the Thunder remains unclear. As per reports from Adrian Wojnarowski, Embiid’s status “is expected later today.” If Embiid returns against the Thunder, he would only have 7 regular season games to regain his match fitness ahead of the playoffs. However, Embiid has a history of recovering from knee injuries. In fact, following his selection as the third pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, he endured two seasons on the sidelines due to knee and foot injuries. So, could Embiid’s return spark a late season resurgence for the Sixers?

Could Joel Embiid’s return position the Sixers as a dark horse for the 2024 NBA title?

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The Philadelphia 76ers have been abysmal since Joel Embiid got injured back in late-January against the Warriors. Since then, they could only muster 11 wins from 29 games. However, with Embiid in the starting five, Philly have recorded 26 wins from 34 games. Therefore, Embiid’s return would give a huge boost to the 76ers ambitions in the 2024 playoffs.

Joel Embiid would also use the Sixers remaining seven regular season games to get up to speed. However, with the Sixers currently occupying the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference standings, there remains considerable pressure on both Philly and Embiid to deliver, as they aim for a favorable first-round matchup in the playoffs. At the moment, they would face last season’s finalist, the Miami Heat, in the play-in tournament. If they manage to defeat the Heat in the play-in tournament, they would more than likely face 2021 NBA champions, the Milwaukee Bucks, in the first-round of the playoffs.

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USA Today via Reuters

Therefore, ending the regular season on a high should be of utmost priority for the Philadelphia 76ers. Of course, Joel Embiid’s return would have a massive impact. However, they also possess the MIP (Most Improved Player) frontrunner, Tyrese Maxey, in their ranks. The 23-year-old guard has averaged 25.6 points, 6.2 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game this season. So, given their fire-power, could the Sixers make an improbable deep postseason run? Let us know in the comments below!

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Written by:

Dushyant Singh

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Dushyant Singh is an NBA Writer at EssentiallySports. Ever since the Lakers’ Orlando Bubble victory, he has maintained a vigilant eye on the NBA with his research-heavy perspective, along with a specialization in covering predictive lineups. He keenly observes the evolving narratives that unfold each season.
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Edited by:

Saumya Khanduja