At this point in the NBA Playoffs, it’s a war of attrition. Joel Embiid battled through a knee injury in Game 1 of the Hawks–Sixers series. Will and can he do the same Tuesday night? Doc Rivers is “optimistic.”
Embiid wasn’t 100 percent for Game 1, but he certainly looked like he was. The MVP finalist dropped 39 points and grabbed 11 boards, albeit in a 128-124 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
Despite playing in Game 1, there are still concerns surrounding his availability for Game 2. Rivers had positive news to share about Embiid’s availability Tuesday afternoon, though.
Rivers told reporters ahead of Game 2 that he’s “optimistic” Embiid will be able to give it a go this evening, per NBA insider Dave McMenamin.
Doc Rivers says he is “optimistic” that Joel Embiid will be able to play in Game 2. Barring Embiid not being able to go, Rivers says he has no starting lineup changes planned for tonight.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) June 8, 2021
While this is a step in the right direction, Doc Rivers had a more concerning update on Monday. He then said Joel Embiid will have to be evaluated “after each game … for a while.”
“I think we always have to worry,” Rivers said on Monday, via Yahoo! Sports. “I don’t think we’re out of the woods, I’ll put it that way. I think after each game he’s going to be evaluated for a while. Now, I don’t know how long that lasts. That may be three, four, five games. But we’re still not out of the woods.”
The Sixers won’t risk Embiid’s health, especially with a longterm outlook. But Philly will need him if it’s going to beat the Hawks.
Game 2 of the Hawks-Sixers series commences tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT.