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Kevin Garnett And Paul Pierce Break Down Why They Believe Joel Embiid Returned From Injury Instead Of Staying Out

Abhishek Dhariwal

Kevin Garnett And Paul Pierce Break Down Why They Believe Joel Embiid Returned From Injury Instead Of Staying Out

One of the hottest stories this late in the season has been the abrupt return of Joel Embiid to the Philadelphia 76ers lineup. The reigning MVP went down with an injury back in January and was expected to be out for three to six months. But coming back within two months has kicked up a lot of speculation as Boston Celtics legends Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce dive deep into his situation.

Joel Embiid suffered a lateral meniscus in his left knee during a matchup against the Golden State Warriors on January 30. Expected to miss out the remainder of the season, Embiid shocked everyone when fans saw him in the 76ers’ starting lineup in the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

As shocked as everyone was, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were no strangers as the two broke down aspects of his early return on KG Certified. Paul Pierce started with his take on Embiid’s return.

“He feel like they got a championship team. And they was showing that they was contenders they way he was playing. The question is can he get back to the way he was playing at the beginning of the season at an MVP rate…I don’t think there’s enough time left for him to get back to that level I think.”

Following Pierce’s doubts over Joel Embiid’s ability to return to 100% on the court, Kevin Garnett chimed in with what he felt.

“But I just think that his carry is a heavy carry, bro. I know Maxey(Tyrese) takes a little pressure off of him, but not like he need it…Bro is rolling to the point where everybody on his back and if you know what I’m saying, ‘We roll with big fella.’ And I just thought that was a lot on him, bro.”


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Finally, Paul Pierce went on to conclude Embiid came back because the 76ers felt they had a chance at going to the Conference Finals this year based on how the Eastern Conference has been, claiming there wasn’t any other contender other than the Boston Celtics.

Breaking down KG and Pierce’s takes on Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid’s injury was expected to keep him out of the team’s rotation for about three to six months per independent reports. However, the seven-footer made an early comeback, probably risking aggravating his injury and rehabilitation process; a concern Kevin Garnett shared during the conversation.

Kevin Garnett And Paul Pierce Break Down Why They Believe Joel Embiid Returned From Injury Instead Of Staying Out
Credits: USA Today Sports

But when breaking down what the two Boston Celtics legends had to say, Paul Pierce made a compelling point of how the 76ers do feel like they are a title contender with Joel Embiid in their lineup. The Kansas college product had been one of the league’s top scorers before going down with an injury. And to address Pierce’s concerns about Embiid returning to his MVP form in such a short span, the last two games since his return have been a positive indication so far, per Statmuse.

As for Garnett’s take, despite the team boasting another All-Star in Tyrese Maxey, according to the Big Ticket, the 76ers still end up heavily relying on Embiid for most of their points on a consistent basis, which is not entirely wrong. But coming back to their conversation, the rest of the players have stepped it up in his absence, still holding on to the eighth spot in the East.

Now, the Philadelphia 76ers will most likely take part in the play-in tournament and if everything goes according to plan, they’ll be able to clinch the eighth spot for good, going up against the Boston Celtics.

But will the 76ers, a decent squad, that will feature a star player who is not at 100%, be enough to take down the best team in the East? Only time will tell.

About the author

Abhishek Dhariwal

Abhishek Dhariwal


A fan of the sport since the late 2000s, Abhishek has been covering the game of basketball for the past five years now. Having done his masters in Journalism and Mass Communication, Abhishek prides himself in being referred to as a sports journalist at The SportsRush. A fan of the San Antonio Spurs since the Tim Duncan era, Abhishek has an extensive knowledge of the sport and has covered more than 1500 articles. Having a firsthand experience of the sport, Abhishek has represented his city and state at a district and national level. And it is the same level of expertise he aims to bring while covering extensive topics both on and off the court of your favorite basketball stars.

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