Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has been dealing with a knee injury since late January, and more news was announced on Saturday.
According to Derek Bodner of USA Today, Embiid has a partially torn meniscus that will not require surgery, and the rookie seven-footer is listed as day-to-day. He hasn’t played since Jan. 28 against the Houston Rockets, a game where he had 32 points in just 28 minutes of action.
Collectively, the city of Philadelphia holds their breath whenever Embiid’s name is uttered alongside an ailment — especially when it’s lower body. He didn’t suit up for a single game during his first two years out of Kansas because he was dealing with numerous right foot injuries that could’ve been career-threatening.
When he was finally able to be active for an NBA season, Brett Brown and the Sixers organization decided it was best to have him on a minutes restriction and to sit out the second half of back-to-backs. They’ve done a phenomenal job of keeping their word, and just once has Embiid crossed the 29-minute threshold.
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Even with reduced playing time, Embiid’s numbers have been nothing short of remarkable, and he’s the runaway favorite to bring home the Rookie of the Year award. On his shoulders, Philadelphia’s won 19 games this year after finishing with just 10 last season. His averages of 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks blow his rookie cohorts out of the water, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone his age with as much polish on their game as him.
Embiid’s versatility is more surprising than anything else, and he’s developed into a respectable three-point shooter (36.7 percent) while maintaining a dazzling array of moves in the low post.
His seamless transition to defensive anchor is also impressive, even though that’s where most of his upside was rooted. Embiid is an incredibly intimidating defender, and he’s more than just a shot blocker. With tremendous length and athleticism, he’s able to alter almost every shot taken below the foul line, and opponents shooting just 43.9 percent on shots taken within six feet — that’s a differential of 17.6 points.
Not only is he a great on-court talent, but he’s also quickly becoming a social media icon. Embiid’s Instagram stories and tweets are absolutely incredible, and it’s debatable that he’s the best digital personality in the league.
Sixers fans are in a great place with Embiid as the franchise’s savior, and his injury shouldn’t be a big deal if it’s handled correctly. Thus far, the team has been extra cautious with both Ben Simmons and Embiid’s injuries, and the last thing they’d want to do is rush back their potential superstar.
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