Joel Embiid’s dislocated ring finger has been improving. He’s even been participating in non-contact drills at Sixers practice.
Unfortunately, Embiid isn’t quite there yet as team doctors still haven’t cleared him for full-contact. Embiid will miss Wednesday’s game against the Raptors in Toronto but there is increasing hope the All-Star center will be back on the court as soon as Saturday.
The Sixers take on the Los Angeles Lakers on Jan. 25 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. If Embiid can practice in full on Saturday, he’ll likely suit up for that one. Embiid has missed seven straight games dating back to Jan. 6 after tearing the radial collateral ligament in the fourth metacarpal in his left hand.
The newest ambassador for Under Armour was cleared for conditioning drills on Jan. 16 and has slowly been rehabbing and working himself back into basketball shape. By all accounts, his fitness level is right where it’s supposed to be following the injury.
“All of a sudden, we’re different,” head coach Brett Brown said, via CBS Sports. “We’re just different. I look at this as an opportunity. Nobody’s crying. This is not a ‘woe is me’ moment, not for me, at all. And not for my players. We’ll take what we have, and what we have, I love.”
Sixers Have Decisions to Make at Center Position
The Sixers have surprisingly gone 5-2 in Joel Embiid’s absence as Ben Simmons has exerted his will on the league en route to Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors.
Al Horford has also been logging tough minutes for the Sixers, including scoring 19 points in 26 minutes during Monday’s 117-11 win in Brooklyn. Horford has been playing with a sprained left wrist that he suffered on Jan. 18.
“It’s definitely uncomfortable,” Horford said, via NBC Sports Philadelphia. “In this game, you always play through injuries and things like that.”
Making matters worse, the team has a decision to make on third-string center Norvel Pelle who only has one day left on his two-way NBA contract. Philadelphia will have to either sign him to a real deal and cut a player, or send him back to the G-League and roll with Kyle O’Quinn at reserve center.
Matisse Thybulle Helps Cancer Patient in Abington
Matisse Thybulle has been a revelation on the court for the Sixers. The rookie is averaging 4.7 points in 19.5 minutes per game while shooting 38-percent from three.
Defensively, his contributions cannot be measured. Thybulle has been a lock-down defender and steals machine. Off the court, Thybulle has been an inspiration.
The 22-year-old recently reached out to a student at Abington Senior High School in suburban Philadelphia to offer his support as the teenager battles cancer from Hodgkin’s lymphoma. On Monday, Juwan Adams received a video message from Thybulle telling him to “continue to be yourself and keep fighting.”
Thybulle himself is up for inclusion in the NBA’s Rising Stars Game during All-Star Weekend on Feb. 14 in Chicago. The game matches 10 first- and second-year NBA players from the United States against 10 first- and second-year international players. Here’s hoping Thybulle gets the nod.