Playoffs 2018 East First Round: 76ers (3) vs. Heat (6)

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid upgraded to start for Game 3

From NBA Twitter and media reports

Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid made it clear recently he wants to play in the postseason. And Embiid will get that chance tonight in Game 3 against the Miami Heat.

Embiid was listed as doubtful yesterday and early Thursday morning. But his status is now listed as probable, according to Shams Charania reports the center is expected to play. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Earlier on Thursday, Brown said the decision on when Embiid plays will involve several people, not just the coach.

“It’s a collaborative thing with Joel and doctors and me,” Brown said. “It’s all this stuff that revolves around comfort, and feeling like we’re responsible with his health, those types of things.”

On Wednesday, Embiid practiced with the Sixers as they prepared for Game 3.

Sarah Todd of Philly.com has more on Embiid:

Embiid took part in what coach Brett Brown called “light practicing” with a “little bit of contact” on Tuesday in Camden and again in Miami on the eve of the third game in the first-round playoff series against the Miami Heat. The series is tied at a game apiece.

Having Embiid on the court with the team the last two days changed the tone of the workout. One after another, the players said that just having Embiid going through practice was a boost.

“It was really good just to see Jo out there running in the offense and schemes and everything,” Robert Covington said Wednesday. “His spirits are up just to be out there with us. Everyone is just really happy that he’s back, and now we’ve got to incorporate him into what we’ve been doing.”

The big man has missed both of Philadelphia’s playoff games — and 10 games overall — while he watches from the sideline and recovers from surgery for an orbital fracture. Embiid had hoped to play in Game 2 after the NBA’s concussion protocol, but the Sixers are being conservative with his return to the court and ultimately ruled him out.

After Philadelphia lost Game 2 on Monday night, Embiid took to Instagram to vent his frustrations, writing, “F—ing sick and tired of being babied.”

When asked about the post, Embiid stressed to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that he was simply eager to suit up for his team once again.

“I promised the city the playoffs and I’m not on the court and I may not be on Thursday either,” Embiid said. “I wish more than anything that I was out there. I just want the green light to play.”

After the loss, 76ers coach Brett Brown seemed understanding of Embiid’s emotions.

“He just wants to play basketball,” Brown said. “He wants to be with his team. He wants to play in front of the fans. He wants to see this through. When he’s not able to do that, he gets frustrated.”

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