NBA NEWS

76ers GM: ‘Possible’ Embiid misses start of playoffs

Field Level Media

April 11, 2019 at 3:20 am.

Apr 6, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) shoots the ball against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at the United Center. Photo Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Apr 6, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) shoots the ball against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at the United Center. Photo Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Center Joel Embiid might not be ready to play when the playoffs begin this weekend, Philadelphia 76ers general manager Elton Brand told reporters Wednesday.

Brand first said he’s “optimistic” Embiid would be ready to play in the postseason opener before admitting that the All-Star center’s availability is not yet a certainty.

Embiid has battled left knee soreness in the second half of the year, missing five of the final seven games of the regular season, including Wednesday night’s finale against the Chicago Bulls. He also sat out the first eight games after the All-Star break, and he has been bothered by his back at times.

Despite the missed time, the 25-year-old played a career-high 64 games this season, averaging 27.5 points, 13.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game while earning his second All-Star appearance. Due to various injuries, he has played in just 158 total games since being drafted in 2014.

The third seed in the East, the 76ers will face the sixth-seeded Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs.