2024 Playoffs: East First Round | Knicks (2) vs. 76ers (7)

Joel Embiid appears to reinjure knee, returns for 2nd half of Sixers' Game 1 loss to Knicks

Embiid finishes with 29 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists in Philadelphia's series-opening loss to New York.

Joel Embiid goes down and heads to the locker room after throwing down his first jam since his lengthy injury absence.

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NEW YORK (AP) — When the Philadelphia 76ers arrived in the locker room at halftime after a miserable second quarter, there was good news waiting.

Joel Embiid was planning to come back on the court.

Shortly after appearing to reinjure his surgically repaired left knee after a powerful dunk, Embiid took the court with his teammates for the second half of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference playoffs Saturday night.

“When we got back to the locker room, he said he was going to go back out there and give it a try,” teammate Tyrese Maxey said. “Hats off to him, his determination and his will to win.”

Embiid finished with 29 points, eight rebounds and six assists, but it wasn’t enough as the New York Knicks beat the 76ers 111-104.

Embiid had the ball in the lane, threw it off the backboard to pass it to himself, rose up and slammed it down with 2:49 remaining in the second quarter. But he immediately grabbed at his left knee after landing and fell to the court.

After the Knicks scored on the other end, the 76ers took time and eventually were able to help Embiid back up. He walked to the locker room area and missed the rest of the first half, with the Knicks outscoring the 76ers 33-12 in the second quarter, but returned to start the second.

Coach Nick Nurse was asked if he wished Embiid wouldn’t try such a risky play given the condition of his knee.

“I just think that was the play that happened. He pumped-faked up and the guy jumped over the top of him and he had an angle,” Nurse said. “I just think, I don’t know, I would have to look at it again. But I think that was the play that unfolded.”

Embiid didn’t speak to reporters after the game.

Embiid tore the meniscus in his left knee on Jan. 30 against Golden State and had surgery on Feb. 6. He returned early this month to help Philadelphia reach the playoffs, but has still struggled with the knee. He was listed as questionable going into the game and not cleared to play until going through his workout.

That might have to be the plan again before Game 2 on Monday. Nurse said he didn’t believe there was any thought to shutting down the 2022-23 NBA MVP, who was limited to 39 games this season.

“I don’t think so,” Nurse said. “I think he is really a warrior and he’s battling. I think he absolutely wants to play. Let’s see how he turns out here tonight.”