Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid thought he 'wasn't going to make it' after 9-game COVID break
- Joel Embiid returned into action for the Philadelphia 76ers after a nine game COVID-19 break
- The 76ers lost to Minnesota Timberwolves 121-120
- Embiid scored 42 points and 14 rebounds
Joel Embiid returned into action for the Philadelphia 76ers after a nine game COVID-19 break on Saturday. The 27-year-old had 42 points and 14 rebounds in his team's 121-120 loss to Minnesota Timberwolves.
Embiid had not played since November 6. The 76ers had gone 2-7 without him. Coming back into action, the four-time NBA All-Star said that he was thrilled.
"I mean, I really thought I wasn't going to make it. It was that bad. I'm thankful to be sitting here," said Embiid, who is vaccinated.
He is averaging 21.4 pints and 9.6 rebounds in 10 games this season.
Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns said that he was glad to see Embiid healthy again. The Dominican-American had died off COVID-19 complications last year.
"That's bigger than basketball. I've seen people die from that," he said.
Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers, who said before the game that Embiid would be a game-time decision, praised the player for his performance.
"Joel was phenomenal tonight, but we still lost the game. Joel would take 30 (if they could've won). Give him credit (because) he's been working out and he showed us that," he said.
Embiid is one of four 76ers to be sidelined this season as part of the NBA’s health and safety protocols, along with Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle and Isaiah Joe.
"I didn't think I was going to play tonight. To me, it's a miracle I played this many minutes, but it's good. Tonight is on me. I turned the ball over too much (four times) and missed a couple free throws," Embiid said.
D’Angelo Russell scored 35 points and had a decisive steal and assist in the final seconds of the second overtime in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ win.
Tobias Harris returned from a two-game absence due to a hip injury to add 17 points and nine rebounds for Philadelphia.