76ers’ Joel Embiid returns after 9-game COVID-19 absence

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Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid returned Saturday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves after missing nine games because of COVID-19 protocols.

The four-time All-Star hadn’t played since Nov. 6, with the 76ers going 2-7 without him. Embiid is averaging 21.4 points and 9.6 rebounds in 10 games this season. He also sat out on Nov. 1 against Portland to rest.

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Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers said before the game that Embiid would be a game-time decision. The star center went through his normal pregame routine, then received a raucous standing ovation from the fans during introductions.

Embiid is one of four 76ers to be sidelined this season as part of the NBA’s health and safety protocols, along with Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle and Isaiah Joe.

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