The Philadelphia 76ers have not announced if All-Star center Joel Embiid will be back for Game 3 of its opening-round playoff series against the Miami Heat on Thursday night at AmericanAirlines Arena.
But it’s safe to say Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and his team are preparing to see Embiid — and his new mask — back on the court soon after he cleared the NBA’s concussion protocol Sunday afternoon.
“Quite a bit,” Spoelstra answered Monday afternoon when asked if the team has continued to prepare itself to face Embiid, who has been out since he collided with teammate Markelle Fultz and sustained a fracture of his orbital bone. “We had to [prepare for Embiid] leading up to the first game because we didn’t know for absolutely certain [he wasn’t going to play] until I saw him not walk out there. So we had to prepare for him. And when he comes back officially — it looks like Game 3 — we’ll have to revisit that again.”
In three games against the Heat this season, Embiid (7-0, 250) has averaged 19 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists and one block. In each of his two games in Miami, Embiid also made three three-pointers. In the last meeting between the Heat and Sixers on March 8, though, Embiid was only