Injured 'warrior' returns after jaw dropping dunk

Philadelphia 76ers coach Nick Nurse hailed Joel Embiid as a “warrior” after the star centre battled through pain in the NBA playoff opener on Sunday (AEST).

Embiid appeared to reinjure his surgically repaired left knee after an incredible individual play in the first half of the 111-104 loss to the New York Knicks.

The 30-year-old had the ball in the lane, deliberately threw it off the backboard to himself, rose up and slammed it down as jaws dropped at a heaving Madison Square Garden.

After the Knicks scored on the other end, the 76ers took time out and eventually were able to help Embiid back up.

He walked to the locker room area and missed the rest of the first half, but returned to start the second.

Embiid tore the meniscus in his left knee against the Golden State Warriors and had surgery in February.

He returned this month to help Philadelphia reach the playoffs but still appears to be limited – certainly not the dominant player who scored a franchise record 70 points just before his injury

Embiid finished with 29 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

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