Joel Embiid is listed as questionable for Saturday afternoon’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Wells Fargo Center with back tightness.
The 76ers (30-16) will be at a huge disadvantage against the Thunder (26-18) if he doesn’t play.
The 7-foot-2, 270-pounder is seventh in the league in scoring (26.9 points per game), fourth in rebounds (13.3) and tied for sixth in blocked shots (2.0). On Thursday, Embiid was two assists away from posting his second triple-double of the season despite playing with a bad back. He had 22 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists, and three blocks.
It was obvious that Embiid’s back bothered him. The All-Star center moved gingerly on the court, and he sat on a foam roller and rested on his back on the baseline the first two times he exited the game. Afterward, Embiid had a heating pad on his back whenever he went to the bench.
“It was hard like I mentioned," he said, “but I’m a warrior and I wouldn’t let my teammates down. I felt that we needed this game for home-court advantage. So I knew I had to play to give us a better chance to win the game.”
Early on, he settled for a lot of shots on the perimeter instead of playing ‘bully ball’ in the low post. And he had a bad slip on the floor.
But he still managed to have a presence at the rim on defense while contesting shots.