Joel Embiid says he’s ‘sick and tired of being babied’ after sitting out Game 2 loss to Heat

Joel Embiid. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

If it’s up to Joel Embiid, he will make his return from injury in Thursday’s Game 3.

The Sixers’ All-Star center has already missed the final eight games of the regular season and the first two games of the playoffs as he continues to recover from surgery to repair an orbital bone fracture. But after the Heat tied the first-round series 1-1 and stole home-court advantage with a 113-103 win in Monday’s Game 2, the 24-year-old Embiid turned to social media to express his frustration with the situation.

“[Expletive] sick and tired of being babied,” Embiid wrote on his Instagram account.

The Sixers have not made a decision yet regarding Embiid’s playing status for Thursday’s Game 3 in Miami. The team did announce Sunday that Embiid cleared the NBA’s concussion protocol, which is a sign that he’s close to making a return.

“He just wants to play basketball,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said when asked about Embiid’s social media post following Monday’s game. “He wants to be with his team. He wants to play in front of the fans. He wants to see this through. When he’s not able to do that, he gets frustrated. I respect his frustration. It’s born out of competitiveness and it’s born out of him wanting to be with his team.”

Monday marked Philadelphia’s first loss since Embiid suffered the injury on March 28. The Sixers have posted a 9-1 record in the 10 games he’s missed.

Philadelphia has already started two different centers in Embiid’s place in this first-round series. The Sixers took a traditional approach and started the physical Amir Johnson in Game 1 before turning to a small-ball look and starting stretch forward Ersan Ilyasova in Game 2.

Embiid, who averaged 22.9 points, 11.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 63 regular-season games, will wear a mask when he returns.

“I’m just moving along and coaching with what I have, and right now I do not have Joel,” Brown said before Monday’s game. “I can’t wait to get him back. He is to me the difference maker. Joel Embiid changes the dynamics in many ways of this team. There will be a reintroduction to him back into the team. How I play him, I’m not sure really what that’s going to look like. We’ll judge that more once we can actually see what we can do with him and how soon we can do it. I can’t give you like a perfect answer of what that looks like.”

As of Monday night, Embiid was still waiting to participate in his first contact work since suffering the injury.

“That’s a partnership with Joel and the medical people,” Brown said. “It’s a collaborative thing with the bottom line being what’s best for his health. It doesn’t have anything to do with, ‘Oh we lost the first game, we have to rush him.’ The bottom line is what is best for Joel Embiid’s health.”

[Heat’s Bam Adebayo appreciates moment with Dwyane Wade during first playoff game: ‘a veteran teaching a rook’]

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