PHOENIX - Here's a collective sigh of relief: following X-rays Sunday night, Joel Embiid was told his right hand is not broken.
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Embiid believes he suffered a sprain when he collided at halfcourt with Devin Booker and slammed into the ground with 3:54 to go. He stayed in for the remainder of the game, determined to play until the end as the Sixers fended off the Suns, 123-110 (see observations).
"It was numb but I'm a warrior," Embiid said after the game, his hand wrapped in a thick bundle of ice. "I want to push through stuff and I want to play. I wanted to be on the court to win the game and that's what we did."
Embiid grabbed his hand throughout the game. He shook off the injury (and foul called on him on the play), though, to grab three rebounds and swat one shot in the following minutes. He scored 22 points with nine rebounds, five assists and two blocks on the night. This was his 20th 20-point game of the season.
"When you look at his plus-minus, a plus-32, I haven't seen that before," Brett Brown said. "I don't remember seeing that before. That's indicative of what he means to us."
Embiid does not expect to miss time because of his hand. The Sixers' next game is Wednesday at home against the Spurs.
"I have no idea," Embiid said of the plan as it relates to his injury. "But I think I should be fine."
Embiid is no stranger to physical play. It was not surprising to see him elevate like he did to try to grab the ball.
He had been battling injuries as of late. Embiid recently was sidelined because of back tightness and still is on medical restriction for no back-to-backs. The Sixers are focused on maintaining Embiid's health through limited practice work and travel to cities wherein he is not playing.
"There's always concern," Brown said. "You get caught up in the game. You're just trying to win the game at that stage. It's always on your mind. The way he plays, there's always a chance. It's like with everybody, but him especially. I think the fact he just hasn't practiced the awkward moments, the unorthodox moments scare you a little bit more because of what I just said."
The Sixers picked up just their second win of the season without Embiid (2-7) Saturday in Denver over the Nuggets.