Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid is eager to return after having surgery on a torn ligament suffered when he dislocated his finger on Jan. 6.
Embiid was named an All-Star starter on Thursday evening, but the 2014 third overall pick cares more about being able to return to action next week:
Rich Hofmann @rich_hofmann
Joel Embiid: "Not concerned about all-star. Right now we're sixth. Hopefully next week I'm able to play." Says he has to go through practice and see how hand reacts to getting slapped/contact. Also has to work on conditioning. Says that he has to wear a cast when he’s back. https://t.co/ktu7KTlpjI
Embiid dislocated his left ring finger late in the first quarter of the Sixers' 120-113 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder and had surgery on Jan. 10. He's missed eight games so far during his recovery.
The 25-year-old finished out the Thunder game despite the injury, and guard Ben Simmons admitted he "nearly threw up" when he saw Embiid's finger.
"It was pretty bad," Embiid said. "I was basically playing with one hand. So it was pretty bad, but in the midst of the losing streak, I wanted to make sure that I do everything possible to try to get us the win."
Embiid finished the game with 18 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
Philly is 6-2 in Embiid's absence and owns a 29-17 record.
NBC Sports Philadelphia's Serena Winters relayed that Embiid participated fully in Friday's practice, "including contact drills," and will be reassessed on Monday.
The 76ers will be without Embiid for at least one more game, and it's a big one. The 36-9 Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers will visit the Wells Fargo Center on Saturday night.
Embiid leads the Sixers in points per game (23.4) and rebounds per game (12.3) across 31 starts.