NEW YORK – Joel Embiid will play for the 76ers Saturday in Game 4 of their opening-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center.
The two-time All-Star center missed Game 3 due to tendinitis in his left knee. But the team announced he would play 8 minutes, 12 seconds before the matchup.
Embiid had been officially listed as doubtful 90 minutes before the game on the NBA injury report. However, coach Brett Brown said at that time he would be a game-time decision.
“My whole thing with Joel is and always will be - it’s dictated by the doctors more than the coach - is what harm we putting him in? What unnecessary harm are we putting him in?" Brown said. "If the answer is none, then you play him.
“Then it gets down to whatever level it is, then you question it.”
Brown was asked if the apprehension was a result of Embiid’s pain tolerance or possible further injury to the knee. He declined to answer.
“You guy know what I know,” Brown said. “Really, I’m leaving this to team to team to share the information that you guys deserve to have. But as it relates to me, I’m a recipient of the news and I coach accordingly.”
The team said it has to do with the Embiid’s pain tolerance and pointed out what he told the media on Thursday. Embiid said his knee is getting better, slowly but surely.
“But we have to be smart how we handle it every single day," Embiid said. “I am sure these guys wouldn’t let me get on the court if there was a chance of anything bad happening. So I have to trust the process.”
Greg Monroe started in place of Embiid in the Sixers’ 131-115 Game 3 win, Monroe finished with nine points and 13 rebounds in 24 minutes, 33 seconds. The ninth-year veteran had a subpar shooting performance, making just 4 of 13 shots.
It was just his fifth appearance as a Sixer. Philly signed the 6-foot-11, 265-pounder on April 4.
Embiid has been hampered by a sore knee all season and had missed 14 of the team’s final 24 regular-season games. Game 5 of the series is 8 p.m. Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers lead 2-1.
He averaged 22.5 points, 12.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.5 blocks in the first two games of the series.
Embiid did say on Thursday his knee is getting better, slowly but surely.
“But we have to be smart how we handle it every single day," he said. “I am sure these guys wouldn’t let me get on the court if there was a chance of anything bad happening. So I have to trust the process.”