Joel Embiid is listed as doubtful for the 76ers’ postseason opener against the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, according to the NBA’s injury report released Friday afternoon after Sixers practice.
Embiid said before the 76ers practiced Friday that he didn’t know if he would be able to play because of constant pain in his left knee.
Embiid said he has been able to play with the pain, but that recently it has become worse.
“Even within the pain, it is still possible [to play], but whatever I have been feeling the past couple of days has been different. It still hasn’t changed,” he said. “Everything is good on the scans but the pain level hasn’t changed. It got worse.”
Whether he plays, he says, will be up to him.
“It is my decision because I am the one feeling the pain and I know my body,” said Embiid, who has missed 14 of the final 24 games. “They [the medical staff] are going to do whatever they can as far as getting me ready, but if my body doesn’t respond based on the pain level, there is really nothing you can do.”
The Sixers, who tip off against the Nets in Game 1 at the Wells Fargo Center at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, released this statement: “Since the game at Chicago on April 6, Joel has continued his treatment program including conditioning, strength training and physical therapy."
Embiid said the knee has been bothering him since he came back from the Feb. 17 All-Star Game, well before April 6.
Embiid played 23 minutes and 11 seconds in the All-Star Game. He missed the next eight games after the break. He returned March 10 and played in 10 of the final 16 games.
Even though the Sixers said in the statement that Embiid would be a partial participant in practice, coach Brett Brown said that Embiid wouldn’t practice. Media availability was before practice.
Embiid says he wants to play but will be smart about it.
“Everybody who knows me knows I want to be on the floor and play through injuries and pain,” he said. “But if I can’t go, it means it is pretty painful.”
If he doesn’t play, it will be the second time in two seasons that Embiid will miss the beginning of the playoffs. Last year he missed the first two playoff games in the opening series against the Miami Heat while recovering from a fractured orbital bone.
“It is extremely frustrating, I will tell you that," Embiid said. "But you can only control what you can and that is the work I put in every day and how I treat my body …”
If Embiid doesn’t play, it’s likely that 7-foot-3 Boban Marjanovic would start in his place.
While Embiid’s status is doubtful, Jimmy Butler, who missed four of the final six games with a back injury, is ready to go.
“I am good, healthy, happy,” Butler said. “That is all you can do. I am ready to play basketball, I am ready to hoop.”
Forward-center Jonah Bolden, who has been experiencing left knee soreness, is listed as questionable for the playoff opener.
Forward James Ennis is out with a right quad contusion that he suffered April 3. The Sixers originally said he would re-evaluated in two weeks, but an update on Friday says he will be re-evaluated on Monday.