76ers star Joel Embiid out for Game 1 vs. Celtics

The Philadelphia 76ers have announced that Joel Embiid will not play in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series because of a LCL sprain in his right knee. Sources say there is optimism surrounding Embiid’s potential availability for Game 2. Rivers said it’ll just be a matter of the doctors telling him that he’ll be available to play.Though Joel Embiid was injured and had to sit out Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Philadelphia 76ers still managed to win over the Atlanta Hawks. Embiid suffered the injury when he landed awkwardly after contesting a drive by Brooklyn Nets forward Cam Johnson in Game 3 of Philadelphia’s first-round sweep on April 20.

Philadelphia will now have to try to replicate its success throughout the season without Embiid. The 76ers are now 12-5 without their superstar center after the Game 4 win over the Nets. Both Rivers and Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said Philadelphia will play faster and spread the floor more with Embiid sidelined. The 76ers were given an additional couple of days of rest when the Atlanta Hawks pushed their first-round series with the Celtics to six games, moving the beginning of the series back to start Monday rather than Saturday.The lack of Embiid definitely had an impact on Philadelphia’s game, but they still managed to get the win over Atlanta, albeit by a slim margin.

If Embiid is able to come back during this series, it will be seen as a huge boost for the 76ers. Even though they were able to win without him, his presence is essential to their team. They need him to contribute both offensively and defensively, especially since he is a finalist for the NBA MVP. Until then, Philadelphia must rely on the players that they have now to compete against Atlanta. With the game having ended on a close note, it makes it clear that the series will be a tough one for both teams.

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