Embiid returns for 76ers in Game 3 with protective mask

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid is in the starting lineup for Game 3 of the playoff series Friday against Miami after sitting out the first two games with a right orbital fracture and a mild concussion.

Embiid warmed up in a protective mask as he makes his comeback with the Sixers trying to win their first game of the Eastern conference semifinals. The Heat lead the series 2-0.

“He really hasn’t been able to do a lot,” coach Doc Rivers said before the game. “We just have conditioning and how he looks on the floor.”

Embiid led the 76ers with averages of 30.6 points, 11.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game during the regular season. And even though he’s bothered by a right thumb ligament injury that will require offseason surgery, he also averaged 26.2 points and 11.3 rebounds in the six games against Toronto in the first round.

Embiid is one of three finalists for MVP, along with Denver’s Nikola Jokic and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Kyle Lowry also returned to the starting lineup for the Heat after he missed the last four playoff games with a strained left hamstring. The Heat went 4-0 without the point guard.

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