He returned to the bench in the second half, and Sixers coach Brett Brown said after the game he didn’t have a further update on Embiid’s status, besides agreeing with the observation that Embiid looked happy and engaged with the game in the second half from his seat in the back row of Philadelphia’s bench.
“I’m going to learn more, physically,” Brown said. “I don’t know enough to comment on it. But I do agree … every time I looked behind the bench, he was into it.”
Embiid appeared to hit his left ankle on the stanchion under the basket midway through the first quarter. After a media timeout with 6:18 to go in the quarter, Embiid slowly walked over to Philadelphia’s bench and sat in the assistant coach’s seat immediately next to the scorers table. He appeared to be in some pain, grabbing at his left foot and grimacing as he was looked at by the team’s training staff.
He then was walking around and talking to players and staff, including assistant coach Ime Udoka, and initially went and sat in his seat in the back row of Philadelphia’s bench. Almost as soon as he sat down, however, he got back up and walked out of the bench area and to the locker room.
Then, late in the second quarter, he was ruled out for the remainder of the game, before he returned to the bench in the second half.
Embiid had two points on 1-for-6 shooting and four rebounds in 5:42 before he exited the game.
The Sixers are still coming to grips with the reality that Ben Simmons will almost certainly not return to the team during these playoffs after it was determined he needed surgery to remove a loose body from his left knee after injuring it in the third quarter of Wednesday’s win over the Washington Wizards.
Simmons was replaced in the starting lineup at power forward by Al Horford, who had been supplanted in the starting five by Shake Milton officially after the team arrived in Orlando for the resumption of the season. Rookie wing Matisse Thybulle started in Embiid’s place in the second half.
Brown said after the game that he still hasn’t decided how he will handle minutes for the Sixers in their final three games in Orlando.