By Alan Cummings
Sixers coach Brett Brown is optimistic All-Star Joel Embiid will return to the court before the NBA playoffs get underway next Sunday after he sits out tonight’s game with the Phoenix Suns.
The three-time All-Star hurt his left ankle in the opening quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Portland Trail Blazers at Walt Disney World Resort.
Philly – sixth in the Eastern Conference with a 42-28 record – conclude their regular-season campaign against defending champions the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday and the Houston Rockets on Friday.
Brown, though, is hopeful Embiid will play prior to the postseason, telling reporters on Monday: “I do expect him to [play before playoffs], that’s just one man’s opinion.
“Nobody’s doing cartwheels over if something severe, but I do believe it would be good for him to play for the playoffs begin.”
Embiid has been averaging 23.5 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game for the 76ers this season.
Meanwhile, fellow 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons underwent surgery and is expected to miss the remainder of the campaign.
The 76ers said Simmons had surgery to remove a loose body in his left knee, with the Australian set to begin rehabilitation in Philly immediately.