LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid left after being hit in the right wrist in the first half of the Sixers’ 125-121 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday and didn’t return.
The Sixers said Embiid got an X-ray at halftime that came back negative. Embiid, who is coming off an ankle injury he suffered in the first quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, was already going to be held to limited minutes, so he was kept out the remainder of the game.
A source told ESPN’s Malika Andrews the team isn’t concerned about there being a serious injury to Embiid’s wrist.
“I really don’t know a lot to share,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said after the game. “I do know it was whacked twice. As it relates to what’s next, or the evaluation of it, I am sorry, I can’t comment on that.”
Embiid, 26, checked out of the game for good with 7 minutes, 30 seconds to go in the first half and was not on the bench for much of the remainder of the quarter — only to reemerge in the final moments before the first half ended. He then was late coming out of the locker room for the second half, though he eventually emerged and was laughing and joking with people on the bench.
He finished the night with five points and nine rebounds on 1-for-4 shooting in 14 minutes.
Because the Indiana Pacers beat the Houston Rockets earlier Wednesday, Philadelphia now is locked into the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference no matter what happens over the remaining seeding games, and the Sixers will open the playoffs against the third-seeded Boston Celtics next week.
This will mark the second time in three years that the Sixers will have faced their blood rivals in the playoffs. Despite the loss of Ben Simmons for the rest of the season due to surgery to remove a loose body from his left knee, the Sixers feel confident they can have success against the Celtics in the playoffs.
“I think we are ready to fight against everybody,” guard Furkan Korkmaz said. “It doesn’t matter who the opponent is. We all know every time, Philly against Boston, is a big deal, it’s a big game. And then we start talking about matchups, how we can guard them, how they can guard us.
“But I think the most important thing is what are we going to do on the court … how are we going to show up? I think that’s more important than how they play. So I think that’s going to be key for us, and we all know that. So we are all ready. We are all ready to fight.”
The Sixers, even without Simmons, have some reason to be confident. Boston has no match for Embiid inside, and Philadelphia won three of the four matchups between the teams this season.
Brown pointed to Boston’s firepower on the wings as proof of how difficult an opponent the Celtics can be.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Brad,” Brown said, referring to Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “We have had tons of experiences, regular season, playoffs, over the years. I think their team is very unique, in that they have so much firepower at so many different positions. You know the Philly-Celtics rivalry is historic.
“We are excited, and treat this series with tremendous respect. We are excited to compete against them.”
One significant change — beyond Simmons’ absence — heading into this series is big man Al Horford having gone from Boston to Philadelphia as a free agent last summer. With Simmons’ injury, Horford has returned to the starting lineup alongside Embiid after initially being dropped from it in favor of Shake Milton when Simmons was shifted to power forward full time. After Wednesday’s game, Horford downplayed the significance of facing his former team after already playing against the Celtics four times during the regular season.
“It’s part of the business,” Horford said. “Obviously we’ve already played them plenty of times this year, so that effect is kind of out of the way, so now we can just go out there and compete, and it should be a fun series.”