The vibes are finally good again in Philadelphia after the 76ers’ 99-79 Game 3 win over the Miami Heat. A masked Joel Embiid returned after missing two games with an orbital bone fracture, serving as an emotional leader and defensive anchor in the victory. So leave it to the NBA league office, notorious haters of The Process, to throw a small turd in the punch bowl.
The official language: “The team failed to disclose center-forward— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) May 7, 2022
Joel Embiid's participation status in an accurate and timely manner prior to Game 3” https://t.co/xsXuMrEtVg
To refresh you on the timeline from Friday, the Sixers were required to list Joel Embiid as out until he cleared concussion protocol. After clearing protocol, Embiid was upgraded to doubtful at around 12:30pm ET. Joel participated in morning shootaround, and reporting was that his availability would depend on how he felt throughout the day up until his pre-game routine.
I suppose the league felt “doubtful” was underselling the team’s optimism in Embiid’s ability to take the court. Perhaps “questionable” would have been more to their liking, considering the Heat routinely list half their roster as such, only for all of those guys to suit up:
#MIAvsPHI INJURY UPDATE: Kyle Lowry (hamstring), Tyler Herro (ankle), Caleb Martin (ankle), Max Strus (hamstring), P.J. Tucker (calf) and Gabe Vincent (knee) are all traveling to Philly today and are listed as questionable to play in tomorrow's Game 3 vs the Sixers.— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) May 5, 2022
The Phoenix Suns were recently fined $25k in a similar situation when Devin Booker returned from his hamstring injury. Annoying, but whatever, I hope the NBA and the NBPA’s charitable partners put the extra $50k of Josh Harris and company’s money to good use. Sixers fans will just be glad we don’t have to worry about any “out” or “doubtful” designation for Embiid heading into Sunday night’s Game 4, as Philadelphia looks to knot up this second-round series at two games apiece.