MIAMI - Joel Embiid remains doubtful leading up to Game 3 of the Sixers' first-round series against the Heat.
An official decision does not have to be made until closer to the 7 p.m. start time. There is a possibility Embiid could go through pregame warmups before his availability is determined. The big man is sidelined by a left eye orbital fracture suffered March 28.
"He went through stuff yesterday that was decent," Brett Brown said Thursday before shootaround. "He had a little bit of contact, trying to get used to the mask, felt some bodies. But at this stage this morning, we are listing him as doubtful."
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Embiid once again was taking threes before the start of shootaround. He posted he was "(expletive) sick and tired of being babied" on Instagram following the Sixers' Game 2 loss, their first since he was injured. The series is tied 1-1.
If Embiid does not play, the Sixers could start either Amir Johnson (Game 1 starter) or Ersan Ilyasova (Game 2 starter). Heat center Hassan Whiteside was unfazed by the uncertainty of the matchup.
"I'm not even thinking about what Philly's doing," Whiteside said. "I'm just thinking about what the Heat's doing."
One decision the Sixers have made is to play Markelle Fultz more in Game 3. He had been receiving Ben Simmons' backup minutes but was on the court for less than five minutes in Monday's loss. Brown cited the physicality of the game as the reason he went with T.J. McConnell instead.
"I will go back to Markelle," Brown said. "He deserves the opportunity to play basketball in that role again. … My belief is that he will learn from the last situation."
Brown will watch to see how Fultz is getting into the paint, handling pressure and is getting the Sixers into their offense. Fultz is looking to be a playmaker and use his length as an advantage on defense.
"I just want to go out there and play as hard as I can," Fultz said.