Joel Embiid expected to return to 76ers lineup on Tuesday night

The question of when Joel Embiid will return to the Philadelphia 76ers lineup is finally answered. Embiid is expected to play for the Sixers on Tuesday night versus the Oklahoma City Thunder, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Embiid’s status was changed to questionable shortly before Tuesday’s game, leading to speculation that the reigning NBA MVP could indeed return to the court.

Sixers coach Nick Nurse did not confirm that Embiid would play, only that he was working on the court during pregame. But he did acknowledge that the center would likely be on a minutes restriction when he returns from the injury.

Embiid, 30, has been out with injury since Jan. 30. Struggling with pain in his left knee, he was diagnosed with a meniscus injury that required surgery.

At the time of his injury, Embiid was leading the NBA in scoring with an average of 35.3 points per game. In 34 games, he also averaged 11.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists.

According to reports, Embiid did not participate in Philadelphia’s shoot-around earlier in the day and was initially believed to be out for Tuesday’s game.

Facing the Thunder in his first game back provides a tough matchup for Embiid. Not only is Oklahoma City the top team in the Western Conference (52–22), but Chet Holmgren could be a difficult defensive assignment. The rookie is averaging 16.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.

Embiid’s return comes at a crucial time for the 76ers, who have clinched a postseason spot but currently hold the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 40–35 record.

Overtaking the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers in the standings might mean avoiding the Play-In Tournament (involving the Nos. 7-10 seeds), in addition to a possible first-round playoff matchup with the NBA-best Boston Celtics.

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