Joel Embiid was sidelined for two weeks after testing positive for covid-19 and undergoing the NBA's health and safety protocols. He has slowly gotten back in the action featuring in the Philadelphia 76ers' last five outings.
But Embiid put on a show last night against the Charlotte Hornets who were missing a key player. Although it was a narrow 127-124 victory, Embiid's performance was outstanding.
The Cameroonian finished the game with a season-high 43 points while shooting 75% from the field. Immediately after the final whistle, Embiid was approached on the court and asked how he was feeling.
“I’m not even close to 100 percent. I’m still feeling it. I get tired easily, feel pretty weak. But every single day I’m slowly getting better. So I just got to keep pushing myself. My teammates, they push me. They want me to be making all the plays offensively and defensively, so as long as I got that trust I’m still going to keep pushing.”
It is scary to imagine Embiid dropping those numbers and not feeling his best. The Sixers have been poor without him, going 2-7 in the nine games he missed.
Embiid has previously spoken about his experience with covid, stating how he struggled with the disease.
"It hasn't been good. That jawn hit me hard. I really thought I wasn't going to make it. It was that bad. So I'm just thankful to be sitting here. I struggled with it, but I'm just glad that I got over it and I'm here doing what I love with some good people."
The Sixers are a different unit with Embiid on the floor. They have won three of their last five games, even as he is still in recovery.
A 7th place ranking is less than ideal for Doc Rivers, and he will be looking to go on a winning streak with his star man back in the fold. Embiid is averaging 23.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 4.4 assists so far this season.