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No plans to sign Joel Embiid after latest injury scare

NEW YORK – After a second brief injury involving superstar center Joel Embiid in just over a week, Philadelphia 76ers coach Nick Nurse said after Saturday night’s 111-104 Game 1 loss to the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden that there there are no plans to shut down the reigning MVP.

“He really is a warrior and he fights,” Nurse said of Embiid.

“I think he definitely wants to play.”

Embiid briefly left the game before the final 2:37 of the first half after a notable play in which he threw down a ridiculous one-handed dunk after passing the ball off the backboard to himself.

Embiid, who led all scorers with 18 points in the first half, was at the free-throw line with Mitchell Robinson guarding him when he dove under the Knicks center, shot the ball off the backboard and, all in one motion, leapt into the air . caught him with his right hand and knocked him through the hoop.

But when Embiid came down, he landed on his left leg and immediately fell to the ground. The play continued, with the Knicks getting a layup on the other end before Philadelphia could call a timeout and take a look. After a long period on the court, Embiid finally got up and slowly walked under his own power directly to the Philadelphia locker room, where he remained for the rest of the first half.

It was a moment eerily reminiscent of Embiid’s exit from a game eight days ago against the Orlando Magic, when he drove to the basket in the final two minutes of the first half, scored, went down, walked away under his own power and then returned to the basket. deepening before the start of the third quarter.

And just like in that game, Embiid returned to the bench just before the start of the second half and rejoined his teammates on the floor.

“When I went in at halftime, I knew they were checking on him,” the nurse said. ‘And that he was moving. And they said we’ll see. They haven’t ruled him out yet. They just took him all the way to the end to get him back in.”

Embiid declined to speak to the media after the game.

He finished the game with 29 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals in 37 minutes, and Philadelphia was plus-14 in his time on the court – meaning he was outscored by 21 points in the 11 minutes he was on the couch sat. . However, after scoring 15 points on 5 for 9 shooting in the first quarter, Embiid had 14 points on 3 for 13 shooting over the final three quarters, including 2-for-11 in the second half.

During that Orlando tilt last week, Embiid also struggled after halftime, scoring 11 points on 4 for 11 shooting.

Saturday’s appearance was Embiid’s seventh appearance since returning to the court in early February following a procedure on the lateral meniscus in his left knee.

“Nothing about Joel surprises me right now,” said Tyrese Maxey, who led Philadelphia with 33 points in Game 1. “He’s always a fighter. He’s always going to try to give everything for his team. So if he thinks he can Go , he will definitely be there.”