The Philadelphia 76ers could be without Joel Embiid for an extended period of time.
Doctors diagnosed the star center with a displaced flap of the meniscus in his left knee, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Joe Vardon. Simply put: Embiid suffered a tear in his meniscus.
While no decision appears to have been reached, The Athletic added that Embiid is considering surgery to repair the issue after he had been managing knee pain all season. The 76ers haven’t confirmed this report and only ruled out Embiid through the weekend with a lateral meniscus injury.
If this diagnosis is true, it would all but end Embiid’s campaign to repeat as NBA MVP. He’s already missed 13 games this season and would only be able to miss four more before he’d become ineligible for the award. The league’s new rules require an MVP to play at least 65 of the NBA’s 82-game schedule.
Embiid won the 2023 MVP award after only playing in 66 games.
Social Reactions to Embiid Injury News
Unsurprisingly, fans on social media were sad to hear Embiid could miss even more time this year after he had only just returned from an injury.
One Philadelphia fan was in his feelings after hearing the news:
And another reached out to Elmo of “Sesame Street” for support:
While another suggested Embiid get the surgery to ensure long-term health:
Embiid’s Injury History
The Sixers big man has had a lot of success in the NBA but also a lot of injuries. Specifically, Embiid’s knees have been affected throughout the course of his career.
In total, Embiid’s missed 428 games in his career, including the first two years of he was in the NBA while he dealt with a foot injury.
Through it all, Embiid became one of the best all-around plays in the league.
He’s averaged at least 30 points per game in the past three season – including this one – and never averaged fewer than 20 points per game in any season. Embiid is also a two-time NBA scoring champion, five-time All-NBA team and seven-time All-Star.
How Embiid’s Absence Could Affect 76ers’ Season
Embiid’s injury puts the 76ers in a bit of turmoil this season, but Philadelphia is still third in the Eastern Conference with a quality roster.
The Sixers star was on track for another MVP-caliber year. Embiid had averaged 35.3 points per game this season to lead the league and added 11.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game.
But he appeared to be dealing with knee soreness all year and missed stretches of game throughout the first half of the season. Embiid returned to the Philadephia lineup on Jan. 30 against the Golden State Warriors following a two-game absence but hurt his knee late in the fourth quarter.
Now, as Embiid’s health hangs in the balance, the 76ers should prepare of world in which he doesn’t return to a significant amount of time.
Philadelphia has not been good without Embiid in line-up, though. The 76ers are 4-9 in games he missed this season, including 2-1 in their past three. They’re 76-98 all-time without their star center.
No Embiid means the team will lean a lot on guard Tyrese Maxey, who returned from a three-game absence of his own, and veteran guard James Harden. Center Paul Reed should become a staple of the team as well in Embiid’s position. He’s started the past three games Embiid didn’t suit up.
Maxey averaged 20.3 points per game this year, while Harden added 21.0 points and 10.7 assists. Reed averaged just 4.2 points per game this season, but he put up a 30-point, 13-rebound performance in a loss to the Utah Jazz on Jan. 27.
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