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Sixers ‘confident’ Joel Embiid will return before playoffs

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Nick Nurse is confident Joel Embiid will recover from his knee injury before the NBA Playoffs.

Embiid tore the meniscus in his left knee during a game against the Golden State Warriors in late January and was forced to undergo surgery to rectify the issue in February.

Philadelphia have gone 8-13 through 21 games since the reigning MVP suffered the injury, with that run dropping them from third to eighth in the Eastern Conference standings and throwing their playoff hopes into doubt.

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Embiid has targeted a return to the court in April ahead of a possible postseason run, and Nurse believes he is on track to make that happen.

Asked about Embiid’s condition ahead of Saturday’s 109-98 win over the Charlotte Hornets, Nurse said: “I think there’s always stages of how these things progress.

“Everyone wants to know; ‘Well how long is it going to be?’

“They [the medical staff] give a wide range because of that, because everyone heals differently.

“We’re just trying to take it as it comes, get him healthy and get him back when he’s ready to go.”

Asked if he thinks Embiid will feature before the end of the regular season, Nurse said: “I’m still hoping so and I’m pretty confident, yes.”

Tyrese Maxey had a game-high 30 points as the Sixers improved to 37-30 with Saturday’s win, after recovering from a bloody nose caused by a flagrant foul from Brandon Miller in the first half.

“I’m all right,” Maxey said of the second-quarter hit. “I tell everyone that I’m a soldier, so it is what it is. I’m going to take UFC lessons, though!

“There’s been a few times in the fourth quarter where I wasn’t able to close the game out because I exerted a lot of energy in the first three quarters.

“Now, I have to find a way to be the best player I possibly could be for all 48 minutes.”

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