Joel Embiid isn’t cleared to play 5-on-5 yet, and the Philadelphia Sixers say their star center is on a “very hyper-conservative progression toward returning to basketball.”

It’s too early to determine how much playing time the big fella will see during training camp, which starts next week.

Embiid, 23, averaged 20.2 points and 7.8 rebounds in just 31 games last season, and had season-ending surgery in March to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.

Per the AP:

“It’s really early in the process to determine exactly where Joel is in his progression back to playing,” team president Bryan Colangelo said Wednesday. “We have put him through a very hyper-conservative progression toward returning to basketball. It’s been very important for us to make it criterion based where he checks off certain boxes and he can move to the next step.”

 

Colangelo said Embiid has not suffered a setback in his return from the March 24 surgery. The Sixers said in a release at the time that Embiid had “minor arthroscopic surgery,” but the fact that he may not be ready to go six months later could become a huge concern for the team.

 

Embiid’s rookie season was known more for the frequent injury updates than the flashes of dominance that have the Sixers convinced he can become their cornerstone player. The Sixers slapped minutes restrictions on Embiid and refused to let him play a full set of back-to-back games.

 

“We’re excited really with where we see him from a physical standpoint,” Colangelo said. “He looks like he’s in tremendous shape and conditioning. He has to get in better 5-on-5 condition. At this stage, he’s not there.”