Report: There is ‘more optimism’ that Joel Embiid can play in Game 3 or 4 vs. Miami Heat'
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Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid reportedly could return for Game 3 or Game 4 of the Sixers’ series against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Embiid missed the first two games of the series after he suffered a mild concussion and orbital fracture against the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the playoffs.

According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, there is “more optimism” that Embiid will be able to play sooner rather than later in the series.

“There’s some more optimism that he can play in Game 3 or Game 4,” Shelburne said. “He’s got a couple hurdles to clear still. But I’m told he’s going to work out today and tomorrow, and they’re going to make a final decision much closer to game time.

“He’s gotta get through the concussion protocols and get cleared for that orbital fracture, but he really wants to play.”

Shelburne also revealed that if Embiid does play, he will need to wear a protective mask on his face. However, Embiid won’t have to wear goggles with the mask, something that had bothered him earlier in his career.

This is great news for Sixers fans, as Embiid has been one of the best players in the NBA during the 2021-22 season.

During the regular season, Embiid averaged 30.6 points, 11.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game while shooting 49.9 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from beyond the arc. He also made a major impact on the defensive end of the floor, as the five-time All-Star averaged 1.5 blocks per game in the regular season.

Miami has looked dominant early in this series, but the Sixers certainly could make things interesting in the next two games if Embiid is able to play.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.