Joel Embiid eyeing return for season opener

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Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid poses for a photograph during media day at the NBA basketball team’s practice facility, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Camden, N.J.

Joel Embiid aims to return from a left knee injury on Oct. 18 in the 76ers’ season opener at the Washington Wizards.

“We got a couple of preseason games. I might play in those,” Embiid said. “But if I’m not 100 percent, they are not going to put me out there.

“It’s not just about rehabbing. It’s also about like being in the best shape possible, which I’m not yet on that level. But hopefully, I can [play] in the first game of the season.”

The center is still unable to participate in 5-on-5 scrimmages after having what the Sixers called “minor” surgery more than six months ago to repair a meniscus tear in his left knee. Embiid, however, said that he feels great. The 23-year-old said he has worked hard on his body during the past couple of months.

“I feel good about myself and can’t wait to be back on the court,” he said. “And as far as everything, I feel amazing.”

Embiid experienced swelling in his knee right after the surgery. However, that was expected. He said he hasn’t experienced any since. Embiid added that he had the knee scanned two or three times after the surgery.

“Everything looks perfect,” he said. “So we just got to keep managing it.”

But he thinks he could play 5-on-5 if need be.

“I mean if it was Game 7 of the Finals, definitely,” Embiid said. “But there’s a plan in place and I have to check a couple of boxes before this season or before my first game of this season. That’s what I intend to do.”

Embiid, however, doesn’t think he’ll play in all 82 games this season.