BOSTON — On April 19, Joel Embiid said the healing process for the orbital bone near his left eye would take eight weeks. The 76ers center had surgery on March 31, a little over four weeks ago.
“So we are going to see in two weeks after the scans and stuff to see if it’s fully healed,” Embiid said Monday. “If it is, I’m taking [the mask] off.”
The all-star has been forced to wear a gray mask with a protective lens that resembles goggles in games since returning on April 19 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Miami Heat.
Embiid does not wear the mask during the team’s shootaround or in shooting drills.
“I should always wear it to kind of get used to it,” he said. “But it’s annoying. So I don’t feel like shooting with it.”
The lens is what annoys him the most.
“I can’t really see,” he said. “So besides game time, I don’t really see the point of wearing it.”
Marco and Ersan, quiet assassins?
Embiid was asked about the personalities of Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova, the Sixers’ solid free-agent acquisitions after the trade deadline.
“Quiet,” he said. “They don’t talk much. But when it comes to business, they are going to do their job.”
That’s obvious. The two reserves have had a lot to do with the Sixers’ surge.
Both international players came to the Sixers after receiving buyouts from the Atlanta Hawks.
Belinelli signed with the Sixers on Feb. 12. Two weeks later, Ilyasova received his buyout from Atlanta with the intent to sign with the Sixers. He reunited with Belinelli on Feb. 28. The Sixers took a 24-4 record since Ilyasova’s signing into Monday’s game. They won 20 of their last 21 games.
Belinelli and Ilyasova have been teammates off the court, as well. Belinelli, a native of Italy, and Turkish native Ilyasova fit in well on a Sixers squad with seven international players.
“So we kind of mesh really well together, on the court, off the court,” Embiid said of the international players. “They are great guys. It goes for the whole team. I’ve got great teammates around me, and I’m glad they’re playing well.”