With the absence of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid has become the sole star of the Philadelphia 76ers franchise, who they cling to to remain a contender. Recently, Joel missed an extended period of time after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

Embiid returned last night (Nov. 27) as Philly hosted the Minnesota Timberwolves. Fueled by their point guard play from D'Angelo Russell and contributions from their young star forward Anthony Edwards, the Wolves outlasted the 76ers in overtime for a 121-120 win.

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Joel had a stellar game, recording 42 points and 14 rebounds on 52% FG shooting in a whopping 45 minutes. Embiid had 13 of his points on overtime, and spoke how surprised he was at his playing time and production: "To me, it’s a miracle that I even played this many minutes. But it’s good. … Obviously we lost tonight. We’ve got to get back on track. We’ve had too many losses lately. Tonight, it’s on me. I turned the ball over, missed a couple free throws. I’ve got to do a better job and overall, we’ve all got to do a better job."

He elaborated that his struggles with dealing with COVID created a major setback for him. With headaches and breathing issues, he was miserable in his absence: "It hasn’t been good. That jawn hit me hard. I really thought I wasn’t going to make it. It was that bad. So I’m just thankful to be sitting here. I struggled with it, but I’m just glad that I got over it and I’m here doing what I love with some good people. It was not a good time."

After last night's loss, Philly fell to 11th place in the Eastern Conference. The 76ers were 2-7 in the nine games Embiid missed, and he seems grateful to be back with his squad to help them get back to winning: "I’m happy to be back with these guys. I love playing basketball so once I’m on the court, I might as well do whatever it takes."

How far do you think the 76ers can go this year?

[Via]