The Celtics gave the Philadelphia 76ers are break in the Eastern Conference semifinals, but Joel Embiid still is a doubt to play in Game 1.
Embiid has been out since Game 3 of the first round against the Brooklyn Nets due to a knee injury. The star center reportedly suffered a LCL sprain and might need to wear a knee brace when he returns.
Instead of playing a game, the 76ers practiced, but head coach Doc Rivers didn’t sound confident when asked about Embiid’s status for Game 1.
“There is no latest,” Rivers told reporters, per video from The Athletic’s Rich Hofmann. “I mean, obviously, doctors looked at him. He didn’t do anything today. If I was a betting man, I would probably say doubtful for at least Game 1. But we’ll see.”
When asked what has to happen for his star center to play, Rivers replied: “He has to get better.”
The Celtics are favored to make it out of the second round and advance to the Eastern Conference finals, and that task will be made easier if Embiid is not at full strength. But Boston showed in the first round it still can be inconsistent, so it’s no guarantee the C’s cruise to victory even if Philadelphia is without Embiid.
It appears the center will be a game-time decision for Monday’s game. Tipoff at TD Garden is scheduled at 7:30 p.m. ET.