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Joel Embiid returns but admits to ‘being depressed’ during recovery

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The MVP is back and playing after two full months of recovery from his torn meniscus after left knee surgery. This Tuesday night, Joel Embiid competed against none other than Oklahoma City only to inspire a comeback win which ended 109 to 105 in favour of the Sixers. However, the big man admitted that he endured a tough time on the sidelines, and will need patience before he returns to his best form. 

You’d think that the star center would already be used to being on the sidelines, as he’s spent a big part of his career injured, but he revealed that it has taken a toll on him. Once the game was over, Joel shared how he needed to fight back against depression and make an impact on the NBA floor again.

“Usually, when I have injuries, I just tell myself, ‘Move on to the next one. Get better and fix it,’” he shared. “This one, it took a toll mentally. Being depressed. It was not a good one. Still not where I’m supposed to be, especially mentally. But I just love to play. Love basketball and I want to play. Any chance that I can be out there, I’m going to take it.”

One of the main reasons why he felt so down, was watching how his team had a top-four spot in the Eastern Conference, and eventually plummeted to eighth place. Philadelphia are 14-27 without him and 11-18 since he fell to injury on January 30 at Golden State.

It wasn’t easy seeing his team lose night after night. “It took me a while to get over it,” Embiid expressed. “I still haven’t gotten over it. I’ve just got to take it day-by-day. Look at the positives. I’m back. Hopefully, every single day I’ll try and get better and get back to myself.”

The veteran explained how he depended on his wife to get through these hard moments, and mostly used his time for play with his young son Arthur to take his mind off his NBA career. “Basketball obviously means a lot and I love it and I love to play,” he said. “It’s the best thing for me. But family also comes first. It’s the thing that got me through it.”

Once the match was over, the reigning MVP admitted to feeling exhausted. There was even a moment late in the game when he fell hard to the floor and the big man had to lay on his back for a while before he let his teammates pulled him back up.

Despite inspiring his team to victory vs. Thunder, Embiid believes he played poorly and needs time to get back to his best version

Embiid wasn’t too convinced about his performance against Oklahoma City, especially as he felt so tired and couldn’t impact the game as he’s used to. Despite this, the player scored 24 points, won 6 rebounds, handed out 7 assists and stole the ball three times.

“I thought I could have been better,” Joel assured. “I’ve learned a lot over the years. I’ve got to take care of myself. I’ve got to stay healthy because I still have a long career ahead of me. It’s about now and the future.”

The 30-year-old was received with a roaring ovation from the Sixers fans, as he appeared for the first time in weeks with his hair in braids and ready to rock. The player started the day out of the injury report and as the day progressed he was listed as questionable. “I want to get him out there and evaluate where we’re at,” coach Nick Nurse said.

“I usually don’t worry about the seeding stuff,” the tactician added. “There is some common sense here that we need to get this team ready, whatever that means, to be the best they can be, if there’s a postseason.”



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