Joel Embiid returned to the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday at Toronto after missing the team’s past three games with a back injury.

“It wasn’t feeling the best, but I really wanted to play tonight,” Embiid said. He is the team’s leading scorer and rebounder.

Embiid took the team’s first six shots of the game, scoring eight in the first quarter. The star center finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in Philly’s 102-86 loss, its fifth straight.

“They understand the sky isn’t falling,” coach Brett Brown said when asked if his players have been affected by the slump.

It marked Embiid’s first NBA game in Toronto. He missed his first seven career games north of the border, including one this season, due to injury.

Embiid has been sidelined with a sore back since he played a career-high 49 minutes in a triple-overtime loss to Oklahoma City on Friday. The Sixers had been calling Embiid’s timetable for return day-to-day.

Brown said he could tell Embiid, who got a technical foul late in the third, was frustrated by not being able to perform better.

“He wants to do so much more, and he can’t,” Brown said. “He just hasn’t practiced or, recently, played. There was a rhythm and a fluid side of his game that he was searching for.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Courtesy: ESPN.com


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