The Philadelphia 76ers have been making do without All-Star center Joel Embiid in the lineup. However, they saw him take a step forward on Friday in taking on more in the team's practice.
Embiid went through contact drills with the team and has been ramping up his conditioning. Per the team, he is set to be reassessed on Monday.
Joel Embiid (torn ligament/left hand) went through a full practice today, including contact drills.— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) January 24, 2020
Plan for him is to be reassessed Monday. #Sixers
Injuries have piled up a bit of late for Philadelphia. The Sixers got news on Thursday that swingman Josh Richardson would be out 2-3 weeks with a left hamstring strain, leaving their backcourt thinned. Second-year guard Zhaire Smith appeared in just six games last season and has spent much of this season with the G League's Delaware Blue Coats. He also went through practice on Friday.
Josh Richardson will be re-evaluated in two weeks, per Sixers. Joel Embiid has been ramping up his conditioning, and he will be re-assessed Monday. Participated fully in practice today — including contact.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) January 24, 2020
Joel Embiid went through a full practice today, Sixers say that the plan is for him to be reassessed on Monday.— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) January 24, 2020
Zhaire Smith is back with the big team, practiced today.
Embiid is averaging 23.4 points and 12.3 rebounds in 31 games this season and has never played more than 64 games in a season. He suffered the injury to his radial collateral ligament in the ring finger in a victory over Oklahoma City.
Since Embiid suffered his injury on Jan. 6 against Oklahoma City, Philadelphia has gone 5-3, scoring notable wins against the Brooklyn Nets (twice) and the Boston Celtics. Philadelphia is 29-17 and the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference, but is just three games behind the Miami Heat for the No. 2 seed.
The 25-year-old Embiid has struggled with injuries ever since he was drafted with the No. 3 pick of the 2014 draft. He missed his first two seasons with foot injuries. He suffered a broken bone around his left eye and missed games in the 2018 playoffs. The Sixers signed Embiid, a native of Cameroon, to a $148 million, five-year extension that kicked in at the start of the 2018-19 season.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.