Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid underwent successful surgery to repair the lateral meniscus in his left knee, the team announced Tuesday. Embiid will be re-evaluated in four weeks.
Embiid’s surgery addressed a displaced flap of the meniscus, and he will be sidelined for an extended period, league sources told The Athletic on Sunday. A displaced flap is considered to be a type of tear of the meniscus, according to orthopedic knee specialists.
The reigning league MVP began dealing with what was termed as “soreness” and “swelling” in the left knee in early January and missed three games earlier in the month due to the injury. The Athletic previously reported that Embiid had been managing soreness in his knee for much of the season.
Embiid injured his knee in the fourth quarter of the 76ers’ loss to the Golden State Warriors last week, when Jonathan Kuminga fell on his left leg, just below the knee. Embiid is the league’s leading scorer, averaging 35.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.8 blocks per game. From Nov. 17 to Jan. 25, he scored 30 points or more in 22 consecutive games, the fifth-longest stretch in league history.
Significance of Embiid’s absence
This is a big blow to Philadelphia and for Embiid. His knee injury ruins what has been a historic season for the two-time scoring champ. Embiid’s numbers have been tremendous, and he has been truly dominant. He may well have won a second consecutive MVP if he stayed healthy.
Embiid will likely miss his 18th game of the season at some point during his upcoming absence, making him ineligible for MVP, other awards and the All-NBA team. He has dealt with so many injury issues throughout his career that it is difficult not to feel some sympathy for him as he sees another one cut this season short, even if he can make a comeback at some point.
This is a big blow for the 76ers as well. They had developed into one of the East’s best teams before Embiid got hurt, even after the whole James Harden affair to begin the season. Now, it all becomes hazy. They own the fifth-best record in the East and have been sliding.
Team president Daryl Morey has a few days ahead of the trade deadline to figure out how to act. They have cap space coming in the summer — can they leverage the contracts that would get them there to somehow improve the team for the rest of this season? They gained extra draft assets in the Harden deal — would they use those to aid the current roster if and when Embiid returns?
There are a lot of questions now that weren’t there for the 76ers a week ago. — Mike Vorkunov, national basketball business reporter
(Photo: Bill Streicher / USA Today)