NBA

Embiid aiming to return this season, targets Paris Olympics

By Sports Desk March 01, 2024

Joel Embiid is aiming to return to action before the end of the NBA season, as he targets making an appearance at the Paris Olympics.

Embiid, the reigning NBA MVP, underwent surgery on a knee injury in early February.

The Philadelphia 76ers star was averaging 35.3 points, 11.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists prior to sustaining the injury in a loss to the Golden State Warriors at the end of January.

While there is no firm timeline on his return, Embiid is confident he will be back for the end of the campaign.

"That's the plan," Embiid said.

"Obviously everything has to go right, as far as getting healthy and being as close as I'm supposed to be. But yeah, that's the plan."

Embiid suggested playing at the Olympics influenced his decision to have surgery.

"I think when you look at what unfolded and what we saw, there was only one decision, and it was to go the route that I did," he added.

Embiid looked well in with a shot of retaining the MVP crown, though that now looks unlikely.

"That's why it was extremely disappointing," Embiid said. "I was on a roll and I felt like I wasn't even close to where I wanted to be, body-wise and basketball-wise, because I wasn't at my best, so I felt like there was still another level that I could go to. It was very disappointing. But I was having fun, playing, getting a lot of wins, dominating.

"The 70-point game was fun. I never would've thought that I could be in a position to score 70 in a basketball game and having the dominance that I was doing. It was fun, but it's not over. The mindset is 'come back if everything goes well, go from there.'

"My mindset is playing basketball, playing as much as I can.

"For two months, I was not at 100 per cent, I was not even close to it. And I just felt the need to give my all to the team and just wanting to win. Because I know I can, you know, I can add that to this basketball team.

"So there's nothing different I would've done. This was very depressing. But the way I also look at it is that's another way to work on myself, on my body, and just get as healthy as possible."

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