NBA Rumors: Joel Embiid to make his long-awaited return from injury vs. Miami Heat?

Will Joel Embiid make his return when the Philadelphia 76ers take on the Miami Heat?

Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers
Miami Heat v Philadelphia 76ers / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

NBA Rumors: It's beginning to look like as if Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid may end up making his return from injury against the Miami Heat.

Since Joel Embiid left the Philadelphia 76ers lineup due to an injury in early February, the team hasn't been the same. The Sixers went from being a legit championship contender in the Eastern Conference to a Play-In Tournament team. That's how much of an impact Embiid has had on the team this season.

So it's only natural that, as he prepares to make his much-anticipated return from injury, the Sixers are going to play this close to their chest. It's already been reported that there's a "real possibility" that Embiid will be back this week. The question now is, with just a handful of games remaining in the regular season, when that return will actually happen.

Now that he's officially been listed as "out" heading into the Sixers game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night, there are two more opportunities for Embiid to return this week.

Could Joel Embiid return against the Miami Heat?

The two next opportunities for Embiid to return come Thursday and Saturday. On Thursday night, the Sixers will travel to Miami to take on the Heat. And then on Saturday, the Sixers will be in Memphis to face the Grizzlies. The Sixers also play in San Antonio on Sunday before returning home to finish the season on a three-game homestand.

But if in fact Embiid is going to make his return this week, that means he could be targeting Thursday or Saturday as a possible return date. At the same time, it's hard to predict what the Sixers could be thinking here. Do they want to slowly bring Embiid back into the fold by finding him a soft spot on the schedule? If that's the case, I would imagine a return on Saturday, taking the game off on Sunday, and then finishing out the season at home.

Or, quite frankly, they could just wait until this upcoming three-game road trip ends to bring Embiid back. If they wanted a ratings draw, the Sixers could bring Embiid back Thursday against the Heat in what could be a preview of the 7-8 matchup in the Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament.

Either way, the good news is that Embiid is in the brink of making his return for the Sixers. Whether it comes in the next few days or next week, it's safe to say he'll be back for the start of the NBA Playoffs. And that's great news for the league as a whole, especially for the Sixers.

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