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Injured NBA MVP Embiid plans to return this season

Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid said Thursday that he intends to return from a left knee injury to play for the Philadelphia 76ers once again this season.

The 29-year-old Cameroonian center was on pace for a third consecutive NBA scoring title when he was hurt last month as Golden State’s Jonathan Kuminga fell on his left leg as they scrambled for a loose ball.

Embiid averaged 35.3 points, 11.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists a game for the Sixers before the injury and surgery in early February, but he hopes to add to those numbers.

“That’s the plan,” Embiid said after a 76ers practice session. “Obviously everything has to go right, as far as getting healthy and being as close as I’m supposed to be, but yeah, that’s the plan.”

Embiid said his body will dictate what timeline his recovery follows and thus far he has no idea when that return might be coming.

“There’s really no timeline. You can never tell how the body reacts, especially once you start ramping up. It all depends on how I feel,” he said.

“If it doesn’t feel like it’s right then you’ve got to keep going.”

The Sixers, who have dropped seven of their past 10 games, are 33-25 in the Eastern Conference, level with Miami for fifth but in a four-team fight for positions with 24 games remaining.

Philadelphia’s record and playoff chances won’t factor into Embiid’s decision when to return.

“It doesn’t matter where we are. I just want to play as much as I can and try to help us,” Embiid said.

“I want to be on the floor as much as possible. I only have about 20 years to do this so any chances that I get, I want to be on the floor.”

Embiid stressed that his body will dictate if he makes a return even if it isn’t until the playoffs.

“If I’m feeling good I’m playing,” he said. “The plan depends on how long it takes. If it takes longer than the timeline and we’re in the playoffs, have to make those decisions then. But it’s all about how I’m feeling.”

Embiid is due to be re-evaluated during his rehabilitation on Tuesday.

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