Report: 76ers optimistic Embiid could return from COVID absence vs. Timberwolves

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid reacts in the final minute of Game 7 in a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks, Sunday, June 20, 2021, in Philadelphia. (Matt Slocum / AP)

The Philadelphia 76ers are optimistic that Joel Embiid could return from a three-week absence due to COVID-19 on Saturday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.

If Embiid cannot return Saturday, the team is targeting Monday's game against the Orlando Magic as another option. Embiid has missed the last eight games after testing positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 8. Embiid has to show two negative COVID-19 tests 24 hours apart, and must also pass cardiovascular testing before rejoining the team.

Philadelphia has struggled with its All-Star centre out of the lineup, losing six of its last eight games.

Embiid finished as the runner-up in the MVP voting last year and is averaging 21.4 points, 9.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.4 blocks and a steal per game. He is also shooting 39.4 per cent from three.

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