76ers star Joel Embiid walks out for Game 1 against the Celtics

Tim BontempsESPN2 minutes to read

The Philadelphia 76ers ruled out NBA MVP finalist Joel Embiid for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal series with a right knee sprain.

There is optimism surrounding Embiid’s potential availability for Game 2, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

“He’s out today and we’ll see going forward,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said.

Embiid shot some after he was shot, Rivers said, but he has yet to run. He was also seen getting up after the team’s Sunday practice.

When asked what it would take for Embiid to get back on the field, Rivers said it was just a matter of doctors telling him he would be available to play.

Embiid struggled with the injury when he landed awkwardly after running into Brooklyn Nets forward Cam Johnson in Game 3 of Philadelphia’s first round on April 20.

Philadelphia went on to win Game 4 to shut out two days later, with Rivers saying after that game “maybe less than 50 percent” Embiid would be ready to start the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The 76ers got two more days off when the Atlanta Hawks pushed their first-round series with the Celtics to six games, sending the series’ starter back to starting on Monday instead of Saturday.

In the end, though, it wasn’t enough time for Embiid to take the field. Philadelphia will now have to try to replicate its success all season without Embiid, as the 76ers are now 12-5 without their star center after a Game 4 victory over the Nets.

Rivers and Celtics coach Joe Mazzola said Philadelphia would play faster and stretch the floor more with Embiid eliminated.

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