Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid has been through a lot in the past week. He was named an All-Star for the fourth time in his career but wasn’t able to play in the 2021 All-Star Game in Atlanta after coming in contact with a barber in Philadelphia who later tested positive for COVID-19.
Embiid then missed the Sixers’ first game after the All-Star break against the Chicago Bulls due to the same contact tracing that kept him from participating in the All-Star contest. However, the superstar big man was cleared to play on Friday against the Washington Wizards and excited to get back on the court.
Unfortunately, Joel Embiid’s bad luck continued versus the Wizards, as he nearly suffered a season-ending injury.
Joel Embiid hurt his left knee against the Wizards
Joel Embiid hurt his left knee against the Wizards on Friday and was down on the floor for a while. Sixers fans feared for the worst since Embiid has a history of injuries.
Entering the Wizards game, Embiid was the MVP favorite. He’s averaging 29.9 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 3.3 assists on the season while shooting 52.5% from the field, 42.2% from beyond the arc, and 85.9% from the free-throw line. The Sixers have the best record in the Eastern Conference and look like legitimate NBA title contenders.
Embiid missed the first two years of his NBA career with a foot injury. He’s been a dominant force since making his pro debut during the 2016-17 season, but Sixers fans always hold their breath with Embiid since he’s injury-prone.
When Joel Embiid initially hurt his left knee against the Wizards, many thought he tore his ACL or meniscus. Fortunately, the 26-year-old dodged a huge bullet.
Joel Embiid has a bone bruise in his knee, to be re-evaluated in two weeks
On Saturday, the Sixers announced that Joel Embiid has a left knee bone bruise and won’t require surgery. The former third overall pick will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
Embiid’s ACL and meniscus are fine. The Sixers are relieved they didn’t lose their best player for the rest of the 2020-21 season.
The Sixers, who are 26-12, will rely on Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons to carry the offensive load while Embiid is out. Simmons has yet to be cleared to play since he also came in contact with the barber who tested positive for COVID-19. The former Rookie of the Year is averaging 16.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7.6 assists on the season.
While it’s sad that Joel Embiid will miss several games, everyone in Philadelphia is grateful that the Yaoundé, Cameroon native didn’t suffer a season-ending injury.
Doc Rivers could win the 2020-21 Coach of the Year Award
In his first season with the Sixers, Doc Rivers had guided Philadelphia to the best record in the Eastern Conference standings. Led by Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, the Sixers average 115.3 points per game and give up 110.7.
Rivers could win the 2020-21 Coach of the Year Award. If the Sixers continue to play elite basketball while Embiid is out, that will only boost Rivers’ odds.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.