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Sixers ready to increase Embiid’s minutes

AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Sixers fans will soon get to see some more of Joel Embiid.

The rookie has looked good so far in limited time, averaging 7.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 12 minutes per game.

When asked after practice on Monday how he felt and if he could push past the 12-minute restriction that’s been placed on him through his first three preseason games, the Sixers rookie said he felt good and is ready to increase his playing time.

“The last game I thought I could play more,” Embiid admitted to reporters after practice. “I was figuring things out, and I was feeling well. You just want to play; you just want to keep going. Obviously, I had a minute restriction, but I fell well.”

“Maybe next game they are going to increase it.”

While the Sixers will eventually extend Embiid’s preseason minutes, it most likely won’t be tonight.

Sixers coach Brett Brown did indicate that his minutes could be ready to rise in anticipation for opening night, but that won’t happen when the Sixers travel to Memphis to face the Grizzlies.

Embiid will still be limited to just 12 minutes.

Although he is on a minute restriction right now, one thing is certain: He will see his minutes increase once the season starts. Sixers coach Brett Brown said he would like to have Embiid available for anywhere between 20-24 minutes per night, but you will start to see more of him this preseason to help him reach that goal.

“You’re going to start seeing a more increased minute time frame,” Brown told reporters after practice on Monday. “I don’t know what that is going to be, but I know that is the plan, we’re not going to just sit on this and play 12 minutes, 12 minutes and then go to opening night and try to play him 20, 24 minutes.”

“So over the next period of time we’re going to grow that, so he can get to that level.”

Even though his playing time is restricted right now, Embiid is still looking to accomplish things with those limited minutes.

“I think I still need to get my body right,” Embiid acknowledged. “I’m still trying to lose a couple of pounds, and I just want to play, keep getting better everyday, make mistakes, correct them, watch film, learn from them.”

Embiid says he currently weighs 275 pounds, but would like to get under 270 by the start of the season. He says he is losing weight by eating right and playing a lot of basketball – something has hasn’t been able to do the past two seasons.

The Sixers are trying to ease Embiid back into action after missing the past two seasons with a foot injury that forced him into two separate surgeries. One way they will accomplish that is sitting him on the second game of back-to-back nights. The Sixers have 17 back-to-back games this season.

But at least it looks like Embiid is ready to take the next step in his two-year rehabilitation, which is taking on more minutes.



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