NBA Rumors: Joel Embiid set to return with a few games left in regular season?

Joel Embiid is expected to make a return to the Philadelphia 76ers before the end of the regular season.
San Antonio Spurs v Philadelphia 76ers
San Antonio Spurs v Philadelphia 76ers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

NBA Rumors: The Philadelphia 76ers are optimistic that Joel Embiid will be back with a few games left in the regular season.

It's been a difficult last couple of months for the Philadelphia 76ers, and that's putting it nicely. With just a couple of weeks left in the regular season, all eyes are squarely on Joel Embiid as the "will he or won't he" game continues to be played as he continues to rehab from injury. While there's been optimism that Embiid could return before the start of the NBA Playoffs, that also hasn't been reported as a guarantee.

As it currently stands, the Sixers are going to have to win their way into the official NBA playoff field via the Play-In Tournament in the Eastern Conference. However, no matter where the Sixers finish in the standings, this is a team that could potentially make some noise if Embiid is able to make a return from injury.

There's an argument to be made that if Embiid can make a return (and play at a high level), this is a team that could compete with any Eastern Conference team, perhaps including the Boston Celtics. With the clock quickly ticking toward the start of the playoffs, it's now being reported (ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski) that the expectation from the Sixers is that Embiid is set to return with a few games left in the regular season. If that timetable ends up being true, that would mean Embiid could likely make a return in the next 7-10 days.

The difference is night and day for the Philadelphia 76errs with and without Joel Embiid

This has to be considered amazing news for a Sixers team that has struggled mightily without Embiid in the lineup. If one thing has been clear this season, it's the fact that the Sixers are a completely different team with and without Embiid.

With Embiid, the Sixers are a dark horse championship contender in the East. Without him, they are barely an average team. If the Sixers are going to have any chance to make some noise in the Eastern Conference playoffs, they're going to need Embiid healthy and in the lineup.

But even if Embiid returns, there will certainly be questions to ask. Will Embiid be on a minutes restriction? Will Embiid be out of playing shape and how long will it take to get back into playoff form? Will Embiid be a fraction of himself? Will Embiid be under load management?

All of those questions are fair to ask ahead of a potential return from Embiid. Nevertheless, at this point, even just getting Embid back into the lineup would be a huge win for the Sixers. And if the recent reporting is any indication, it looks like it's very much going to happen very soon.

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