PHILADELPHIA -- Joel Embiid was in the starting lineup for the Philadelphia 76ers for Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series with the Miami Heat here at Wells Fargo Center on Friday night.
Embiid cleared the NBA's concussion protocol and participated in the team's morning shootaround at its Camden, New Jersey, practice facility -- the first steps toward his return from the facial fracture and concussion he suffered when he was hit in the head by an elbow from Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam late in Game 6 of Philadelphia's first-round series last week.
"Listen, any plan where you have Joel as part of the plan is a much better plan," 76ers coach Doc Rivers said when asked at his pregame availability whether the uncertainty surrounding Embiid's return was an issue. "So we don't mind that. The only thing with Joel, we just have to watch, you know, conditioning and how he looks on the floor."
Embiid was listed as out to begin the day Friday, only to be upgraded to doubtful early in the afternoon after clearing the NBA's concussion protocol and participating in the team's morning shootaround.
Rivers said Embiid won't have a hard minutes limit. Instead, it will be a matter of seeing how he looks and feels as the game progresses.
"There's no cap," he said. "It's all visual. We have people watching, too. Who will come to me at halftime -- hopefully not during the first half or second, during a game, though that's happened before -- and just telling me that they don't like something."
The Heat also do not have a specific minutes restriction for Lowry but coach Erik Spoelstra said Miami would "have a plan" for the former Villanova star.
Philadelphia struggled without Embiid, who last month was named a finalist for the NBA's Most Valuable Player award for the second consecutive season, in the two games in Miami. The 76ers went a combined 14-for-64 from 3-point range and had no answer for Miami All-Star center Bam Adebayo, who averaged 23.5 points and 10.5 rebounds on 71.4% shooting. Both games were comfortable Heat victories.