After missing two games with a mild concussion and an orbital fracture suffered in the first round against the Toronto Raptors, Joel Embiid returned to the court Friday for the Philadelphia 76ers' Game 3 matchup against the Miami Heat.
Embiid helped lead the Sixers to a 99-79 win at Wells Fargo Center to help his team avoid a 3-0 second-round hole. Afterward, he condemned Raptors fans for chanting "f--k Embiid" during the opening round of the playoffs and celebrating his injuries.
Embiid suffered the injuries when Raptors forward Pascal Siakam inadvertently elbowed him while driving to the basket in the fourth quarter of Game 6. The 76ers were up 119-90 at the time, and fans began questioning why head coach Doc Rivers even had Embiid in the game.
After the Game 6 defeat, Siakam sent his apologies to Embiid and explained what happened.
"Obviously, on the play [after], I feel bad—awful that I hit his face—but I was trying to make a move," Siakam told reporters. "I apologized to him after that. You know, that was definitely not my intention."
Embiid had to wear a protective mask for Game 3. He finished with 18 points, 11 rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block.
Philadelphia was waiting for the MVP candidate to return after he finished the regular season averaging 30.6 points, 11.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.1 steals per game and followed it up with an impressive first-round performance.
The 28-year-old averaged 26.2 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in six games against the Raptors.
In Embiid's absence, the Sixers failed to get much production out of DeAndre Jordan, Paul Reed and Georges Niang. Luckily for Philadelphia, it seems like the veteran is going to continue playing through the ailment.
The Sixers and Heat will meet again Sunday for Game 4, with Philadelphia looking to tie the series.