76ers Coach Rivers: Embiid is Close to Return
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) reacts after an injury during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards

The Philadelphia 76ers are optimistic star Joel Embiid will be back from injury soon after they suffered their second consecutive defeat, going down 104-95 to the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday.

Embiid has been sidelined for the past two weeks with bone bruising in his knee, although the 76ers have remained top of the East with a 32-15 record.

However, they were humbled by the Nuggets, led by their own MVP candidate Nikola Jokic who had 21 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

Denver guard Jamal Murray scored 30 points and had six rebounds and four assists, while Michael Porter Jr also scored 27 and had 12 boards for the Nugs.

Speaking pre-game, 76ers coach Doc Rivers hinted that their 27-year-old Cameroonian star was close.

“Whenever Joel comes back, were going to go back to our normal rotation, but I have no idea,” Rivers said.

“He’s close. I can tell you that. He’s working every day, I get reports back daily, and he looks good. He’s doing well.”

Rivers added: “He has to clear certain medical steps. I don’t even know what those are, but he has to.

“Then the other thought with us, and the way I’ve always tried to do it, if you can come back and just keep playing, then you’re healthy, but if you can come back and play one game or two games and then have to sit, then you’re not ready yet.

“If you know what I’m saying. We want to make sure when Joel comes back, he’s back. Not in and out and I think that’s very important.”

Elsewhere, Russell Westbrook dominated again with a third straight triple-double but the Washington Wizards lost 114-104 to the Charlotte Hornets.

Westbrook had 22 points, 15 rebounds and 14 assists for the Wizards, after his record-breaking haul on Monday.

The Phoenix Suns continue to climb up to second in the West with a 117-110 win over Atlanta, while the Los Angeles Clippers blew a 16-point lead to lose 103-96 to the Orlando Magic.

Ben somerford
Sports Pundit staff writer @bensomerford
Australian journalist who specialises on all sports, focusing on football, tennis, basketball and racing, having written for global publications including FourFourTwo, AAP, Inside Futbol and many more....

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