NBA Playoff Injury Update: Latest Joel Embiid, Steph Curry, Jimmy Butler, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard News

An 82-game season can be grind for NBA players. So it's no surprise that with the playoffs here—finally!—some of the league's marquee stars have picked up injuries along the way, leaving their availability questionable.

With the first games scheduled to tip-off on Saturday, here's a quick breakdown of the latest news surrounding some of the key injuries that'll effect the playoffs.

Joel Embiid

The Philadelphia 76ers star center has suggested he won't be able to play in the team's Saturday matchup against the Miami Heat. He has been seen wearing a mask to protect his face, which required surgery after a collision with rookie Sixers guard Markelle Fultz. Asked if he'll be on the court for Game 1, he didn't sound optimistic.

"I don't think I'm ready to play," he said, according to the Associated Press. "It still doesn't feel all the way right."

He added a Game 1 return was "unlikely but [there was] still a chance."

Of course, Embiid—one of the league's best trash-talkers—loves to toy with the press and mess with opponents' heads. So there's always the chance he's playing possum.

Steph Curry

It's pretty much widely accepted the Curry, a two-time MVP, will not be available for the Golden State Warriors' Round 1 matchup against the San Antonio Spurs after suffering an MCL sprain. "There's no way he's playing in the first round," Kerr said to reporters last month. "There’s no way." 

Curry's timeline for returning to the court will likely get an update soon, however. USA Today reported that Curry is set to be reevaluated on Monday, the same day the defending champions will play their first playoff game of the season. 

Jimmy Butler

The Minnesota Timberwolves forward is back from a knee injury and looking good. He helped his squad by returning for the final three games of the regular season, including a must-win Game 82 matchup against the Denver Nuggets. Butler scored 31 points and played 42 minutes in the 112-106 victory that earned Minnesota its first playoff berth in 14 years. They'll take on the Western Conference 1-seed, the Houston Rockets.

Kawhi Leonard

The San Antonio Spurs star has been out for a while now with an injured quadriceps and the situation has grown odd, with his own teammates questioning why he still hasn't returned. Teams are reportedly even preparing to approach San Antonio to see if the franchise might trade its 26-year-old superstar. There's been no real indication Leonard will return for the playoffs, but fans are holding out hope he'll make a stunning comeback to face the powerhouse Golden State Warriors in Round 1. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo

The "Greek Freak" came back from a sore right ankle for the season finale only for his team, the Milwaukee Bucks, to get smoked by the Sixers, who ended the season on a 16-game winning streak. Before making his return, Antetokounmpo had missed two games. He'll try to lead the Bucks to victory over the Boston Celtics in Round 1. 

Marcus Smart

Smart—who injured his ulnar collateral ligament in his right hand—is a key player for the Celtics, who already lost superstars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward to injury. The Celtics reported he was making good progress in his recovery.

"From everything I've been told, he’ll be re-evaluated in the middle of next week," head coach Brad Stevens told reporters this week. "April 27 is the earliest he could be back, so we'll cross our fingers and see."

That could be just in time for the tail-end of Round 1, should Boston need Smart back.

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