Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid said he's still getting back into shape after missing three weeks with COVID-19.
Speaking to reporters after Wednesday's 88-87 loss to the Boston Celtics, Embiid said "it's going to take a while" before he's back to peak physical condition.
"I would never use it as an excuse, but obviously I think it's going to take me a while to get back, especially legs and cardio and all that stuff," he said. "But every single day I got to keep working hard and keep getting better."
Embiid entered the NBA's health and safety protocols Nov. 8.
League rules require vaccinated players and coaches who test positive for COVID-19 to sit out 10 days unless they can produce two negative tests in a 24-hour period.
Embiid wound up missing 19 days before returning Nov. 27 against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The four-time All-Star opened up about how much the virus impacted him after his first game back.
"It hasn't been good. That jawn hit me hard," he told reporters. "I really thought I wasn't going to make it. It was that bad. So I'm just thankful to be sitting here. I struggled with it, but I'm just glad that I got over it and I'm here doing what I love with some good people."
Embiid didn't show signs of fatigue on the court against the T-Wolves, where he had a season-high 42 points to go along with 14 rebounds in a 121-120 loss.
However, in the past two games, the 27-year-old has scored a total of 29 points on 7-of-33 shooting with 31 rebounds.
Since starting the season 8-2, the 76ers have dropped nine of their past 12 games and are currently at .500.