Doc Rivers: Joel Embiid has 'so many steps' to be cleared for 76ers-Heat Game 3

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Philadelphia's hopes for competing against Miami appear to rely wholly on Joel Embiid's return from injury.

76ers fans shouldn't hold their breath.

Head coach Doc Rivers provided an update on Embiid's status after Wednesday's Game 2 loss to Miami. It doesn't sound great for Game 3.

"He looked good as far as talking," Rivers told reporters of a FaceTime conversation with Embiid. "But he's got so many steps to go through. I don't think he's cleared any of them right now. We'll just have to wait and see."

Rivers' update arrived after Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reported during the game for TNT that Embiid was having difficulty looking at his phone's screen as recently at Monday.

"He said yesterday was the first day he was actually able to use his phone because the brightness of the phone was causing problems earlier," Haynes reported.

Embiid hasn't played since an inadvertent Pascal Siakam elbow resulted in a concussion and fractured right orbital bone in Game 6 of Philadelphia's first-round win over the Toronto Raptors. Prior to Game 1 against the Heat, there was reportedly "optimism" among the 76ers that Embiid could return for Game 3 or 4. His status depended on his passing concussion protocol and gaining medical clearance to play with his facial fracture.

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - APRIL 25: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on in the fourth quarter against the Toronto Raptors during Game Five of the Eastern Conference First Round at Wells Fargo Center on April 25, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
The 76ers have struggled in two games without Joel Embiid (Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Without their MVP finalist, the 76ers have been outmatched against the Heat, losing Games 1 and 2 by an average of 15 points. Heat center Bam Adebayo is averaging 23.5 points and 10.5 rebounds while shooting 71.4% from the field. DeAndre Jordan, meanwhile, is averaging five points and 3.5 rebounds starting in Embiid's place.

Game 3 is scheduled for Friday in Philadelphia.

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