Nick Nurse “Pretty Confident,” in Joel Embiid Returning for NBA Playoffs

Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid Diagnosed With Lateral Meniscus Injury, Return Unknown

Many Philadelphia 76ers fans have been wondering how soon their superstar, Joel Embiid, will return to action. Head coach, Nick Nurse, gave a cautious, but optimistic response when asked when the star big man could return.

“I think there’s always stages of how these things progress,” Nurse said. “Everyone wants to know “Well how long is it going to be?” And they give a wide range because of that because everyone heals differently. We’re just trying to take it as it comes, get him healthy and get him back when he’s ready to go.”

“I’m still hoping so and pretty confident, yes,” Nurse said in response to a possible playoff return.

The 76ers are in the play-in picture. They were at the eighth seed with a win-loss record of 37-30 as of March 18th , 2024.

76ers Head Coach, Nick Nurse, Cautiously Optimistic About Joel Embiid Returning for Postseason

Joel Embiid’s MVP-Like Season Before the Injury

Embiid was on pace for another MVP before he was injured. This season, he was averaging 35.3 points, 11.3 total rebounds, and a career-high 5.7 assists per game. On top of that, the 76ers big man also shooting 88.3 percent from the free-throw line to go along with an effective field goal percentage of 56.0 percent. Embiid was also showing greatness on the defensive end of the floor.

He averaged 1.8 blocks, 1.1 steals per game, and a defensive rating of 110. Embiid is now ineligible for any awards this season as he will miss the 65-game minimum mark that was newly implemented this season. Regardless, the fact that Joel Embiid could be back for a potential playoff push has to give 76ers fans some semblance of hope.

The Current State of the Philadelphia 76ers

Embiid’s absence has certainly shown for the 76ers and not in the best way. After being a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference at the start of the year, they have slipped massively. The 76ers still have a winning record, but many teams have improved drastically this season, especially in the East.

The team currently ranks 12th in team defensive efficiency, 26th in team defensive rebounding percentage, first in team steals, and ninth in team blocks per game. Philadelphia is still a capable squad without Embiid. This is shown by these numbers, but with his presence on the floor, it is no secret they are a legitimate championship contender. If the 76ers can remain in the play-in picture for the next couple of weeks, then it will open the door for a much needed return from the one-time league MVP.