Joel Embiid injury: Sixers’ playoff hopes have no bearing on return

Joel Embiid says the Philadelphia 76ers’ playoff prospects will have no bearing on his return from injury, with the reigning NBA MVP planning to take to the floor again this season regardless of their chances.

Embiid has missed over a month of action after suffering a knee injury on January 30, when the Golden State Warriors’ Jonathan Kuminga fell on his left leg as the pair battled for a loose ball.

The 29-year-old – who has averaged 35.3 points per game this season – was forced to undergo meniscus surgery in early February after holding talks with five knee specialists.

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Embiid’s absence has come as a major blow to the Sixers’ hopes of another deep playoff run, with the team losing 12 of their last 16 games to slip to 33-25, leaving them fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Asked if he remained committed to returning this season, Embiid told reporters on Thursday: “That’s the plan.

“Obviously everything has to go right, as far as getting healthy and being as close as I’m supposed to be. But yeah, that’s the plan.”

He also said he had no choice but to go under the knife to resolve the issue, adding: “I think when you look at what unfolded and what we saw, there was only one decision, and it was to go down the route that I did.”

Embiid is reportedly confident of being fit to represent Team USA at the Paris Olympic Games this summer, with the basketball tournament getting under way in late July.

Asked why he was so keen to return this season, even if the Sixers have difficulty maintaining their playoff push without him, Embiid said: “I just love playing basketball.

“I want to be on the floor as much as possible. I only have about 20 years to do this. So any chances that I get, I want to be on the floor.

“It doesn’t matter where we are [in the standings]. I just want to play as much as I can and try to help us.”

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