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The Philadelphia 76ers are a much better team with Joel Embiid in the lineup.

While that's hardly breaking news, there's a noticeable difference in the way the 76ers play when the reigning NBA MVP is on the floor. Now, whether Embiid will be able to suit up on Wednesday in the NBA play-in round against the visiting Miami Heat remains to be seen.

"Yeah, hopefully," 76ers coach Nick Nurse said of Embiid's availability, per the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Not sure on anybody, but I'm hopeful."

Embiid tweaked his left knee during the 76ers' 125-113 win on Friday against the Orlando Magic, an injury that occurred in his just fifth game after being sidelined two months due to a torn meniscus. Embiid, who averaged a robust 34.7 points and 11.0 rebounds while playing just 39 games, sat out Sunday's season finale against the Brooklyn Nets for what the team labeled as precautionary reasons.

Embiid reportedly wasn't the worse for wear during Monday's practice, well in the eyes of teammate Kelly Oubre Jr.

"He made shots. He looked normal. He looked like himself," Oubre said, per the Inquirer. "But you could definitely tell the seriousness in his face, in his work ethic, and everything he's doing in the way he's carrying himself.

"He wants to win, so it's good to see him moving, doing his thing."

Embiid did his thing in Miami on April 4. The seven-time All-Star scored 29 points in Philadelphia's 109-105 victory over the Heat.

Another performance like that and the 76ers likely can secure the Eastern Conference's seventh seed and set up a first-round series against the second-seeded New York Knicks. The loser of Wednesday's contest will play an elimination game on Friday against either the Chicago Bulls or Atlanta Hawks for the eighth seed -- and the right to play the top-seeded Boston Celtics.

Standing in Philadelphia's way on Wednesday is Jimmy Butler, or "Playoff Jimmy" as he's known at this time of the year.

Butler, who was traded from the 76ers to the Heat in the summer of 2019, has guided Miami to two NBA Finals appearances in the last four seasons.

The six-time All-Star averaged 20.8 points, 5.0 assists and 1.3 steals this season for the Heat, who won seven of their final 10 games.

Butler, however, was not interested in reflecting on last season's team that navigated its way out of the play-in tournament. Miami ousted the Milwaukee Bucks in five games, New York in six and Boston in seven before falling to the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals.

"We're not the same group as last year," Butler said, per the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "So we'll leave that where it's at and we're moving forward with the group that we do have.

"But we, I, are very confident in the guys we do have and we know what we're capable of."

Bam Adebayo contributed 19.3 points and 10.4 rebounds this season.

Like Philadelphia, Miami has its own injury concerns. Kevin Love exited the Heat's season finale on Sunday against the Toronto Raptors due to a left arm injury.

Terry Rozier (neck) and Duncan Robinson (back) have missed the last four games due to their respective injuries.

--Field Level Media

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