Sixers HC discusses hopes for Joel Embiid’s return from injury

    The Sixers went 3-7 in their last 10 games leading into the All-Star break and are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference at 32-22. Only seven games separate the second-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers (36-17) from the seventh- and eighth-seeded Miami Heat and Orlando Magic (both 30-25).

    This means that Philadelphia could realistically earn as high as the No. 2 seed in the playoffs or drop all the way down into the play-in tournament. The Sixers are 11 games ahead of the free-falling Brooklyn Nets (21-33), meaning they shouldn’t have to worry about falling all the way out of play-in territory.

    Embiid’s health is one of the biggest question marks that could have the most significant impact among the field of Eastern Conference contenders. Even with the reigning MVP in the lineup, they appeared to be a top-three squad in the conference, at best, with the Boston Celtics (43-12) looking like the top team in the NBA.

    Without Embiid, Nurse’s bunch might have a tough time getting out of the first round.

    The 76ers are 26-8 this season in Embiid’s 34 starts but just 6-14 without him.

    Philadelphia had a busy trade deadline, bringing in the likes of guards Buddy Hield and Kyle Lowry and saying goodbye to players such as Furkan Korkmaz and Marcus Morris.

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