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Joel Embiid made a triumphant return to the court in Game 3 of the Philadelphia 76ers' second-round series on Friday, but he still has something to say about the circumstances of the injury that knocked him out for two games.
Embiid missed Games 1 and 2 with an orbital fracture and concussion sustained in Game 6 of the Sixers' first-round series against the Toronto Raptors. In the final minutes of a series-clinching blowout, Embiid took a hard elbow to the face from Pascal Siakam.
Raptors fans had been annoyed Embiid made an airplane celebration after scoring to put the Sixers up by 29 points, and soon booed and chanted "F*** Embiid" as he dealt with the aftereffects of the injury. Embiid was then taken out of the game.
The play where Joel Embiid got injured pic.twitter.com/GYWDUxupoU
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) April 30, 2022
Speaking with the media after a 99-79 win in Game 3 on Friday, Embiid said he did not believe the elbow was intentional from Siakam, his fellow Cameroonian, but he took Raptors fans to task for their profane chant.
Embiid said he no longer believed the Raptors had "great fans," and noted the recent Draymond Green situation in which the Golden State Warriors forward was fined for flipping the double bird at Memphis Grizzlies fans who were booing him as he walked to the locker room with an injury.
I don't know. I don't think it was intentional, that's my guy, obviously. It's unfortunate, I don't think he meant to do it. But I was more irritated by the perception of when that happened, really their fans. I've always thought they've had great fans, but it kind of changed my mind about their fans up there. Whether it was throughout the series, the F chants and all that stuff, that's cool. It never gets to me anyways, but I think they got made because I did the airplane celebration.
It's been going on in a few arenas these days, where fans feel like it's okay to just say F somebody. There's a bunch of kids in the arena, I don't think that should be okay even if there wasn't kids. But it's almost like, if you respond to it, it's almost like, in the Draymond situation, the league fines you. So to me, it doesn't bother me, I'm just speaking for really everybody in the NBA. If you give it, you also got to be able to take it. And I've said it about our fans too, when they boo, if the players are going to go back, you got to be able to take it too.
It is pretty incredible to hear an athlete from Philadelphia lament a "F*** somebody" chant, but Embiid has always been a mold-breaker.
This isn't the first time the Raptors fan base has been taken to task for ugly behavior in the playoffs, as there was also the time they cheered Kevin Durant's injury, later diagnosed as an Achilles tear, in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals.