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Embiid battles through fitness woes as Philadelphia 76ers hit back

Joel Embiid is going to “keep fighting” through a variety of fitness issues to try to keep the Philadelphia 76ers in their play-off fight with the New York Knicks.

Embiid poured in 50 points as the 76ers reduced the deficit to the Knicks to 2-1 with a 125-114 win in Game Three of their first-round series.

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The 30-year-old missed two months earlier in the season after having knee surgery and is now having to deal with Bell’s palsy, a condition that has affected the left side of his face.

He said: “I think it started a day or two before the Miami game [in the play-in tournament], and I had bad migraines and thought it was nothing.

“It’s pretty annoying, you know, with the left side of my face, my mouth and my eye. So yeah, it’s been tough.

“But I’m not a quitter, so gotta keep fighting. But yeah, it’s unfortunate. That’s the way I look at it. But it’s not an excuse. Gotta keep pushing.”

Embiid wore a large bandage over his knee but seemed to be moving better than in recent games.

He added: “I’m just trying to keep pushing. Like I said, I’m not going to quit. Even if it’s on one leg, I’m still going to go out there and try. But no, that’s not an excuse. Gotta keep playing better and better and better.

“Tonight I got lucky. I made a few shots. Gotta find a way to rebound, and I don’t even care about rebounds. I just gotta make sure that my man doesn’t get it, and then box out my man and take him out of the play.

“Whatever it takes to win.”

Asked if he feels unlucky to have so many fitness issues, he added on ESPN: “It is unfortunate. Every single year, you start asking yourself questions like, ‘Why?’ Every single year it’s … very annoying. Yeah. Maybe it’s just meant to be. Just gotta take it as it is. But the one thing I’m not going to do is give up no matter what happens. Gotta keep pushing, gotta keep fighting, gotta keep putting my body on the line, for my family, for this city, for this team.

“I can’t sit back and be like, every single time feel bad about myself: ‘Why me?’ Yeah, it goes through your mind, you can ask yourself those questions. But what are you going to do about it? Are you going to quit or are you going to keep going? And if you’re going to keep going, what are you going to do about it?

“The best thing you can do is do the best job possible to prepare yourself every single day, which I’ve done. And sometimes you get the results, sometimes you don’t. But if there’s one thing I say about myself, I’m not going to quit. And no matter what happens, if I win, if I don’t, I just know that at the end of when I’m done, I’m going be proud of myself and my people are going to be proud of me.”

Game Four in the best-of-seven series will be played in Philadelphia on Sunday.

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