The Philadelphia 76ers were dealt a major blow before they took on the Denver Nuggets on March 28 when it was reported that Joel Embiid would miss the game due to calf soreness, as reported by Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.
“Jo, I don’t know, but (I’m) optimistic for James,” Rivers said during his postgame press conference.
Rivers expressed a similar sentiment to reporters before the game, hoping Embiid’s injury won’t linger, but also called calf injuries “tricky,” per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Rivers added how the Sixers would manage Embiid going forward.
“He felt great the last two games, but we’re just gonna take this slow and be smart. We want to get him, and our whole team, healthy, for the playoffs. That’s the most important thing.”
The Sixers have seven games left this season. While having Embiid and Harden available could help their chances at a higher seed, not having them healthy could pose a problem in the postseason.
Joel Embiid Details Plantar Fascitis Recovery
Though Embiid is currently dealing with a calf issue, he revealed the details of how he’s managed the plantar fasciitis he had been dealing with at the start of the season in an interview with Shams Charania of The Athletic.
“It’s way better than it was starting the season,” Embiid told Charania. “That’s kind of why I had a slow start those first few games dealing with it. It’s tough, but I think when it happened, the key was we got on top of it. We caught it at the beginning, so we did a bunch of stuff to make sure that we got on top of it, and by the time the season started, I was ramping up a little slower than usual. Just taking care of my body. I’ve come a long way when it comes to my body.”
While Embiid may be in the clear with his plantar fasciitis, now he’s dealing with a new calf injury that his own head coach isn’t sure what the recovery timetable will be.
Joel Embiid Accused of ‘Ducking Smoke’
After it was reported that Embiid would miss the Sixers’ game against the Nuggets, former NBA player Kendrick Perkins accused Embiid of avoiding his matchup against Nikola Jokic.
“Joel Embiid is ducking that smoke today, and y’all know how I feel about Joel Embiid,” Perkins said. “He has been on record, we know how much it means to him to win this award. Here it is, you gave Jokic a spanking when they was down there in Philly. You have to give him the opportunity to get his league back. You cannot sit out this game.”
Perkins added that Embiid avoiding these matchups are moments he’ll remember when he puts in his vote for MVP.
“When it comes down to these moments and these matchups, I have a vote, and when…I’m looking at the MVP, and who I’m going to pencil in, I’m going to remember this moment. It’s only fair. Jokic showed up to work in Philly. You have to give him his league back.”