Joel Embiid Could Return To The Sixers Lineup As Soon As Tuesday Against The Thunder

Coming off of his first MVP campaign, Joel Embiid picked up where he left off to start this season, dominating opponents and averaging 35.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. Unfortunately, the star big man was in and out of the lineup with a nagging knee soreness issue and at the end of January he suffered a torn meniscus when Jonathan Kuminga fell into his leg late in a loss to the Warriors.

After having surgery at the beginning of February, the hope was that he’d be back by the playoffs, but that would be dependent on his rehab going smoothly with no setbacks. That has happily been the case, as Embiid has steadily hit all of his checkpoints in rehab and gotten back into on-court work, and on Monday word broke that he is expected back in the Sixers lineup this week, with Tuesday’s showdown with the Oklahoma City Thunder as a real possibility for his return.

This is obviously a big deal for the Sixers and for the Eastern Conference playoff race as a whole. Philly is currently in eighth in the East, 1.5 games back of Miami and 2 games back of Indiana for sixth. It would likely require a perfect 7-0 finish to the season to have a chance at passing both teams in the standings to get a guaranteed playoff berth, but if the Sixers have Embiid they’ll be the favorites in any Play-In matchup. Should that be where they end up, if Embiid is indeed at full strength (or close to it), the Sixers would be quite the draw for either the Celtics or Bucks in the first round.