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NBA Insider Has Significant Update On Joel Embiid's Return

Joel Embiid raising his arms during a Philadelphia 76ers game. He reportedly approves of Mike D'Antoni as potential next Sixers coach.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 21: Joel Embiid #21 and Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers react against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Wells Fargo Center on November 21, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Sixers star big man Joel Embiid could return to the floor very soon, according to an NBA insider. Per The Athletic's Shams Charania, there's a chance the four-time All-Star could be back by this weekend.

"There's optimism 76ers star Joel Embiid will return on Saturday vs. Minnesota following a three-week absence due to COVID-19," Charania tweeted on Wednesday.

Shams continued, "Embiid has been ramping up this week. If unable on Saturday, second game of home stand (Monday vs. Orlando) is possible." Philadelphia has missed the All-NBA center's presence in the lineup. Since Embiid tested positive, the Sixers are a dismal 2-6. In nine games this season, Embiid is averaging 21.4 points, 9.6 rebounds, and four assists per game. The three-time All-Defensive Team selection is also posting 1.4 blocks and 0.9 steals per game. Somehow, despite the wild start to Philadelphia's season, the team is above .500 at 10-8. That's with Joel Embiid out of the lineup for all but nine games, Ben Simmons continued standoff, and other key pieces missing time as well.

Second-year guard Tyrese Maxey has emerged as a real player for Philadelphia this season. Since taking over for Ben Simmons at the 1, Maxey is averaging a more than respectable 18.7 points and 4.6 assists per contest.

The Sixers have received a number of great contributions off the bench as well.

Hopefully the return of the best two-way center in the NBA can get Philly back into contention in the East.