Joel Embiid Doesn't Feel Like NBA Player Because He Doesn't Play Back-to-Backs

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistOctober 20, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 18: Head coach Brett Brown of the Philadelphia 76er talks with Joel Embiid #25 in the first half against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena on October 18, 2017 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has been outspoken recently regarding minutes restrictions and the team's conservative plan to keep him healthy, and he admitted frustration Friday when he disclosed he hasn't yet been cleared to play in back-to-backs.

"I just want to feel like an NBA player," Embiid said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Keith Pompey. "I feel like I'm not an NBA player because I don't play back to backs."

On Tuesday, Embiid didn't hold back after he was informed head coach Brett Brown ballparked his initial minutes limit at "somewhere in the teens," calling that estimation "f--king bulls--t," per PhillyVoice's Kyle Neubeck

However, Neubeck noted at the time that Embiid "said he trusts the doctors" and knows they're thinking about his future.

As it turns out, Embiid played 27 minutes and piled up 18 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and a block in Wednesday evening's 120-115 season-opening loss to the Washington Wizards. 

And while Embiid's passion is impossible to deny—it's what's made him the face of the franchise despite making 32 appearances since 2014—the team's desire to keep their $148 million man healthy as possible following a pair of season-ending foot surgeries and a meniscus tear is wholly understandable. 

If there's good news for Embiid it's that the Sixers only play 14 back-to-backs this season—down from 18 a season ago. 

However, he will have to sit out Saturday evening when the Sixers travel to Air Canada Centre for a showdown with the Toronto Raptors following Friday's home opener versus the Boston Celtics. 

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