76ers Joel Embiid Clears Concussion Protocol, Remains out for Game 2

Ronald Martinez  Getty Images

The Philadelphia 76ers didn't need Joel Embiid for Game 1 of their first round series against the Miami Heat on Saturday.

Prior to Saturday's game, Embiid told ESPN that, "If it was my decision, I would play, but I can't get back out on the court if I don't have the OK from them".

This marks the 10th straight game the all-star will miss since fracturing the orbital bone near his left eye and suffering a concussion against the New York Knicks on March 28. While the Sixers center entertained fans pregame while wearing a "Phantom of the Opera" style mask against the Heat, the team now says Embiid is one step closer to suiting up after clearing concussion protocol.

After game two Monday, the 76ers will stay in Philadelphia for workouts before traveling to Miami on Wednesday ahead of game three on Thursday, the soonest Embiid could return to the lineup. But that's not to say he has opposite results in other situations.

More news: Knicks dismiss head coach Jeff Hornacek

Embiid averaged 22.9 points, 11 rebounds, and 3.2 assists during 63 regular season games.

Veteran Amir Johnson will likely start in place of the injured Embiid in Game 1 of the Sixers' first-round playoff series. He finished sixth in the league with a 99.7 defensive rating.

He sat out the team's 130-103 routing of the Heat on Sunday but could return for Game 3 in Miami later this week.

Overall, Philadelphia is riding a 16-game winning streak into the playoffs.

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