Joel Embiid will likely play fewer than 20 minutes in the season opener, according to Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown, and Embiid thinks that it is “fucking bullshit.” Embiid spent most of this summer rehabbing last year’s season-ending injury and didn’t fully participate in practices to start training camp, although he has since appeared in two preseason games.
Embiid went all of last year on minute restrictions, too. The most minutes he played was just under 30 in an early January game, and most games were between 24 and 28 per game. After missing his first two seasons, this is clearly the right move to be precautionary — but Embiid is allowed to be disappointed, too.
“I wish I was playing more minutes,” Embiid told reporters. “I think I’m ready for more than, I don’t know whatever number they have. I don’t know, I wish I was playing more, but we’re going to see how it goes.”
He has also been disappointed at his minutes in preseason, too.
Jojo thought he would have played 20 min in his second preseason game. Had hoped to play 24 minutes against WAS. Looks like 16 min is cap.
— Marshall Harris (@mharrisNBCS) October 17, 2017
“From the experience that I got from two preseason games that I played, I felt great in practice, I’ve been pushing myself and doing a lot of work in the weight room too, just to keep my body up,” Embiid said. “As long as my body feels good, I should just play. It’s frustrating, but once again you have to trust the process.”
While Embiid did express faith in the doctors, he was explicitly clear that he believes he should be playing more minutes.
Embiid has said he trusts the doctors, and knows they have long term in mind. But clear he wants and feels he can play more.
— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) October 17, 2017
For now, Embiid will begin the season slowly. The 76ers are one of the most exciting teams this season and Embiid is an enormous reason why, but if less of Embiid now will mean more of him later, it’s a sacrifice that has to be made.