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Joel Embiid injures knee in first game back with Sixers



NBA MVP candidate Joel Embiid emerged from quarantine Friday only to exit his first game back with a left knee injury in the Philadelphia 76ers’ 127-101 win over the Washington Wizards.

Embiid, who missed Sunday’s All-Star Game because of Covid-19 restrictions, landed awkwardly on his left knee and fell to the floor halfway through the third quarter.

He was attended to by Sixers trainer Kevin Johnson before getting up and walking to the dressing room on his own. The team said he had a hyperextended left knee and would not return.

Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers spoke to Embiid after the game and the all-star was in a positive mood. Rivers said team doctors would examine Embiid further on Saturday once the swelling went down.

“He fell with off-balance. I am not going to speculate,” Rivers said of Embiid, who finished with a team-high 23 points. “He is in pretty good spirits. Let’s hope for the best.”

Embiid shot eight-of-11 from the floor and had seven rebounds and three assists in 20 minutes of playing time.

The Sixers led the Wizards 80-60 when Embiid was hurt. He had surgery on the same knee in 2017.

Embiid, who turns 27 on Tuesday, was playing in his first game after receiving a negative test for Covid-19 earlier Friday.

Teammate Ben Simmons, who also missed the All-Star Game last weekend, has not yet been cleared to play, needing another negative test to be green-lighted after he and Embiid were exposed to a Philadelphia barber who tested positive for the coronavirus early Sunday.

Embiid entered Friday averaging 30.2 points and 11.6 rebounds in 30 games this season.

Simmons is averaging 16.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.6 assists in 31 games.

Despite missing Embiid for almost half the game and Simmons for the whole game, the Sixers still managed to win their fourth straight.

Shooting guard Shake Milton came off the bench to score 18 points and Tobias Harris tallied 14 points and eight assists in the win.

The victory kept Philadelphia atop the Eastern Conference, moving them a full game ahead of the second-place Brooklyn Nets.