A lot of emotions were coursing through Joel Embiid's body after he found out he'd become the first Philadelphia 76ers player to win the MVP since Allen Iverson in 2001. In the viral video that showed him winning the award, he bent his head down, overcome with joy, happiness, gratitude and pride.
Through the tears, there was one more emotion, one he apparently could not deny: the will to win. Embiid is reportedly on track to return to the court for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Wednesday night, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania. Embiid reportedly told his teammates he was ready to play in Game 2 with two iconic words: "I'm back."
After winning MVP last night, during a quick 76ers celebration, Joel Embiid turned to the team and said: “I’m back.”
Embiid is indeed on track to return tonight in Game 2 vs. Celtics barring setbacks, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 3, 2023
Embiid has been out with a knee injury since partway through the first round of the playoffs. In Game 3 against the Brooklyn Nets, Embiid tripped over an opposing player and fell down. When he got up he was limping, but played the rest of the game. The Sixers reportedly diagnosed him with an LCL strain and kept him out of Game 4, which the Sixers managed to win without him to complete a sweep of the Nets.
Philly also kept Embiid out of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semis against the Boston Celtics, which the Sixers unexpectedly won 119-115 in the hostile environment of TD Garden. He was listed as doubtful for Game 2, but Embiid apparently has different plans.
It's been just 13 days since Embiid injured his knee, so this has been a pretty fast recovery. It seems unlikely that he'll be at 100% when he takes the court, but even 50 to 75% of Joel Embiid is preferable to him not being there at all.
The Sixers and Celtics face off in Game 2 on Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. ET on TNT.