AS EXPECTED, at least by the 76ers organization, Joel Embiid's visit to the doctor who performed his foot surgery in June brought nothing but good news.
The fear was that something was amiss, since Embiid was wearing a walking boot before heading out west. There was also the infamous slam dunk in warmups on Friday, when Embiid went between his legs before throwing down the slam. Many thought that is what primarily led to the booting.
Embiid was back last night and went through his normal workout on the floor with coach Brett Brown and appeared to be fine. In fact, Brown said his 7-footer is just where they expected.
"Everything is right on track," Brown said. "It's healing at the rate we expected. He is allowed to dunk [laughter].
"They've increased the minutes that we can keep him on the floor [up to 60]. There is going to be some discretion that we use, in regards to how long we decide to work him out. We're going to be smart with trying to get his weight down, his conditioning up. Because we just received the news [Tuesday], there will be a plan with more detail in place for him that will be organized with K.J. [trainer Kevin Johnson], [assistant coach] Billy Lange and myself."
Up until now, according to the team, Embiid has done little more than work on his shot and offensive moves, mostly by himself. He will now be allowed to do more by himself, as well as play some one-one-one.
It appears extremely doubtful he will make an appearance this season.
Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau knows what the 76ers are going through. He was an assistant coach for the expansion Minnesota Timberwolves in 1989-90, a team that went 22-60. He knows that the benchmark of the Sixers isn't wins, but the smaller things, for now. And he is a fan of what Brett Brown is doing here.
"He's been around a long time and he was part of a great system in San Antonio," Thibodeau said. "You can see he's put the system in here. He's steady and consistent, and he gets the most out of his players that he has, and you can see that there is a belief. Right now, they've had a lot of injuries and he has a lot of young guys. But you can see all the improvement in all their players. That's a testament to him. He's an upbeat guy and he's worked very hard."
Thibodeau, whose team is battling a major injury crisis - with stars Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson all out - understands the process the Sixers are undergoing.
"Every team has to do what's best for them," he said. "I know Sam [Hinkie]. Sam was in Houston when I was there. They have a plan and they are sticking to it. They have to be patient; that's what they said from the beginning. Brett understood that when he took the job, and they are accumulating assets and getting a lot of good, young players. When you do that you, just have to be patient.
"Whatever the circumstances are, you have to make the best of those circumstances. I've been in a situation like this when I broke into the league and I was with an expansion team. You measure yourself by what you get out of your team. I look at what he's done, and he gets the most out of his players each and every night. That's really all you can ask for a coach to do."