Embiid on bout with COVID-19: ‘I really thought I wasn’t going to make it’

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid pauses during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in Philadelphia. (Matt Slocum/AP)

Joel Embiid returned to the Philadelphia 76ers lineup Saturday night, but the superstar centre was just thankful to be alive after dealing with COVID-19.

Embiid scored a game-high 42 points and added 14 rebounds during Philadelphia’s 121-120 loss in double overtime at home to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The four-time all-star, who is vaccinated, opened up about his bout with the virus during his post-game presser.

“That jawn hit me hard,” said Embiid, who missed nine games while in protocol. “I mean, I really thought I wasn’t going to make it. It was that bad so I’m just thankful to be sitting here.

“I struggled with it but I’m just glad that I got over it and I’m just here doing what I love with some good people.”

Timberwolves centre Karl-Anthony Towns has clashed with Embiid on the court in the past but put their differences aside Saturday night. Towns was hospitalized with COVID-19 earlier this year and has lost eight relatives, including his mother, to the virus.

“We’ve had our thing for a while, but this is bigger than basketball,” Towns told NBA reporter Dane Moore. “That’s bigger than what we have. I’ve seen it kill people. And I’m glad he’s on the other side.”

The 76ers, who went 2-7 without Embiid in the lineup, are now 11th in the Eastern Conference with a 10-10 record.

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