PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid returned Saturday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves after missing nine games due to COVID-19 protocols.

The four-time All-Star hadn’t played since Nov. 6, while the 76ers went 2-7 without him. Embiid has averaged 21.4 pints and 9.6 rebounds in 10 games this season. He also sat down against Portland on Nov. 1 to rest.

Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers said before the game that Embiid would be a match decision. The star center went through its normal pregame routine and then got a raucous standing ovation from the fans during the introductions.

Embiid is one of four 76ers to be sidelined this season as part of the NBA’s health and safety protocols, along with Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle and Isaiah Joe.