Sixers Looking to Get Healthy for the Postseason

by Marc Narducci; Photo Marc Narducci | Apr 3, 2019
Sixers Looking to Get Healthy for the Postseason
The 76ers are in the home stretch heading into the playoffs and are using the final games to get the team healthy.
Two-time all-star center Joel Embiid didn’t make the three-game road trip that ends Wednesday in Atlanta due to load management left-knee.
There is no doubt if these were playoff games that Embiid would be able to play, but the Sixers want to make sure he is healthy entering the postseason.
Embiid’s injury history is well documented. Last year he played a career-best 63 games. This season he has appeared in 62, but he is averaging 33.7 minutes per game compared to 30.3 last year.
He is also averaging 27.5 points and 13.7 rebounds and while Embiid may fall short in the NBA MVP voting, he should be a first-team all-league choice.
He is the key to the Sixers playoff chances.
Remember last year he missed the first two playoff games with an eye injury.
The Sixers, who should finish in the No. 3 spot, should get by any No. 6 seed. After that, they should be challenged in an Eastern Conference that is up for grabs.
The Sixers are clearly capable of beating teams like Milwaukee, Toronto and rival Boston, but they are also capable of losing to those teams.
If Embiid is in top health, they like their chances against anybody and for good reason.
The difficult part about resting a player too much is not having him in tip-top shape for the postseason.
After Thursday’s home game against Milwaukee, the Sixers hit the road for games at Chicago and Miami before finishing next Wednesday at home against Chicago.
With the final two games being back-to-backs, it wouldn’t be surprising if Embiid doesn’t play against Miami.
Once the playoffs begin, teams won’t have to play back-to-backs, so that should benefit Embiid.
The Sixers had another injury when Jimmy Butler missed Monday’s game in Dallas. Butler injured his back during Saturday’s win in Minnesota.
While Butler has been up and down, he has proven to be a clutch player and has averaged 18.5 points in 53 games for the Sixers.
Back injuries can be difficult to play through, so the Sixers will be cautious with Butler.
The Sixers other three starters, Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris and JJ Redick, all seem to be in good health. Don’t be surprised if Reddick, 34, gets another day off before the regular season ends.
Simmons entered Monday having played in a team-high 74 games. He was averaging 34.5 minutes and look for that total to increase in the postseason. He is one player who never seems to get tired.
So the fine-tuning coach Brett Brown is doing in these final games is making sure everybody gets to the finish line healthy and ready to make what the Sixers believe will be a long postseason run.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci


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