Wednesday night’s matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers was a winning one for the Philadelphia 76ers considering they won away.
But beating an understaffed Lakers team didn’t come without a small price to pay. Sixers center Joel Embiid returned to the court Wednesday after losing a game two nights earlier.
Ahead of Monday night’s fight against the Miami Heat, the Sixers had ruled Embiid questionable for the fourth straight game due to back pain. In the previous three games, Embiid was questionable with a backache, the five-time All-Star was cleared for action and eventually played.
However, the series ended on Monday afternoon. Considering the Sixers were going into the second game of a back-to-back game, it made sense for the team to give Embiid some rest as he struggled with pain and fatigue.
After getting a much-needed rest night, the big man in LA returned to the stage to face the Lakers. Luckily, Embiid was left out of the injury report for the Laker game, which guaranteed his on-court appearance.
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But physicality throughout the match clearly took a toll on Embiid’s back as he was seen repeatedly grabbing his lower back and constantly stretching it.
Could Embiid be held out again?
The Sixers stayed in Los Angeles after Wednesday’s matchup. On Friday they face the Los Angeles Clippers.
While Embiid’s back pain seemed to bother him during the Lakers game, it wasn’t significant enough to threaten his status as a player Friday night.
According to Philadelphia’s initial injury report, Embiid is not listed. As such, he is poised to play in his second straight game after missing a matchup earlier this week.
On Friday, Embiid will appear in his 60th game this year. If he plays Friday, he’s five games away from surpassing his career high in regular-season games. e
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter for live updates: @JGrasso_.