Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, recently ruled out for the rest of the season due to a knee injury, is "very likely" headed for knee surgery in coming days, according to league sources.
The Sixers initially hoped that surgery would not be necessary on the knee injury but a recent scan revealed "a more pronounced tear," according to one source close to the situation. Philadelphia (26-44) was 13-18 this season in games in which Embiid played despite the fact that Ben Simmons, selected No. 1 overall in last June's draft, also missed his entire rookie season due to a fractured right foot.
Marc Stein: Knee surgery for Sixers center Joel Embiid is "very likely," according to league sources. Story on the way momentarily
Tom Moore: Told #Sixers have yet to schedule Joel Embiid's left knee surgery. Considering options/treatments & hope to have more info soon. #NBA
The 7-2 center met up with the Sixers last weekend in Los Angeles, where they played back-to-back games against the Clippers and Lakers. The team said he was going to meet one of his doctors there to check out the torn meniscus in his left knee. Then Thursday, the team announced that Embiid stayed behind in Los Angeles with Dr. David Martin, the Sixers' director of performance research and development, and the two traveled to San Diego to see another specialist.
Surgery hasn't been something the Sixers have discussed, but according to two orthopedic surgeons, it would seem probable. A minor repair could mean a six-to-eight-week recovery. If the tear is bigger, a recovery of six to eight months could be required. The team has said numerous times that the tear is "slight" and "minor."
76ers center Joel Embiid is talking to doctors here about the torn meniscus his left knee while the team is in town to face Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday and Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. "We are trying to study his path and go about it meticulously," coach Brett Brown said, "and really sort of help create an environment while he is with us where he's a part of the team."
The Sixers announced on March 1 that Embiid would miss the rest of the season due to the injury. He is expected to have surgery. Embiid is meeting with the doctors to talk about the best next step.
Missing 215 out of a possible 246 games to start his career looks really, really bad. And, to be fair, it is. But that perspective is painted almost entirely by the navicular bone which caused him to miss his first two seasons. When you isolate the new information, and how that impacts his future health, this meniscus tear isn’t likely to be a big factor down the road. It’s an injury that looks bad because of the previous two seasons. That looks bad because he’ll end up missing 51 games this year, even though that number is heavily influenced by the team’s cautious approach to bringing him back, as Embiid missed 11 games prior to the January 20th injury, through little fault of his own.
Prior to Monday night's game against the Bucks, Sixers coach Brett Brown was asked if Simmons and Joel Embiid, whose left knee and cautiousness with his right foot surgeries are limiting him to 31 games this season, would play in the summer. "I think it's too early to make that judgment," Brown said. "I hear the question, but I think that's certainly stuff that we're talking about. But in relation to giving a definite answer, we're not even close to being there yet."
Joel Embiid aka NBA's social media king sent out a message to the fans on Thursday to reassure them that he'll "be back soon," and that, "The process has to be postponed for this minor setback." Along with that message, he set the location of the Instagram post to "Meniscus" ( Embiid always gets creative with his IG locations).
Meniscus tears typically require trimming out the piece that's torn or completely stitching it back into place. If the Sixers do opt for one of those options, Dr. Mark Schwartz of Virtua Health still expects Embiid to be back for the start of the 2017-18 campaign. "Ideally, you hope you can actually repair it. Long term, it's in his benefit," Schwartz, who is not treating Embiid, said on Wednesday's edition of Philly Sports Talk. "Either way, he should be back for next season with no restrictions."
"I think initially the bulk of the symptoms were coming from the bone bruise and the meniscal symptoms were probably in the background," Schwartz said. "Now that the recent MRI reportedly shows improvement in the bone bruise, I think now that the symptoms from the menisci have come to the surface and I think the new MRI shows the meniscal tear to be bigger than originally thought. "I think the next step now that you know that he's not going to be playing for the rest of the season and he still has these symptoms and he's had this meniscal tear for quite some time now, I think the next logical step is to look into his knee arthroscopically."
Embiid’s status is changed from out indefinitely to out for the remainder of this season. "Our primary objective and focus remains to protect his long-term health and ability to perform on the basketball court," said Sixers President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo. "As our medical team and performance staff continue their diligence in the evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation of Joel's injury, we will provide any pertinent updates when available."
As previously announced, Sixers center Joel Embiid underwent an MRI on his left knee Monday afternoon, allowing the team's medical staff an opportunity to provide an update on the results. "The assessment of Monday's follow-up MRI of Joel Embiid's left knee appears to reveal that the area affected by the bone bruise has improved significantly, while the previously identified meniscus tear appears more pronounced in this most recent scan," said Sixers Chief Medical Director and Co-Chief of Sports Medicine Orthopedics at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center Dr. Jonathan Glashow. "We will continue to work with leading specialists to gather additional information through clinical examination and sequential testing to determine the best course of action and next steps."
After announcing earlier in the day that the Sixers phenom would be kept out indefinitely due to soreness and swelling in his right knee, host Michael Barkann asked Colangelo why the team wouldn’t just have surgery on Embiid and get it over with. “Are you a doctor now?” Colangelo shot back at the host. "With all due respect, medical injuries are injuries that require care and attention.” "When I take information that comes from the medical team, including doctors and the training staff and the physiotherapists, we apply it as instructed and we do that to protect the athlete,” Colangelo added. “In a case of jumping into someone's knee to operate, when the circumstances are known but the conditions and how he's reacting to certain things are still unknown, I think you go through the planned progression of steps as prescribed and evaluated by doctors, not by a general manager and certainly not by a television co-host.”
Keith Pompey: Again, #Sixers' Joel Embiid is out indefinitely due to swelling and soreness in his left KNEE. He'll have an MRI today.
Jake Fischer: Bryan Colangelo says Joel Embiid's knee injury is a bone bruise and is "progressing well." Will miss the next 4 games at a minimum.
Joel Embiid said he wasn’t happy with how the 76ers handled his being sidelined with a bone bruise in his left knee. The center pointed out that the Sixers informed the media he was a day-to-day injury.
“I was told that I was going to kind of miss two or three weeks,” Embiid said. “So I wasn’t happy with the way it was handled. I thought keeping my name out there was going to literally have people think about me all the time instead of saying when I was going to come back.”
It'd be pretty discouraging under any circumstances for Embiid to get shut down again—and it looks as if that will not be necessary, according to league sources. There is a possibility Embiid will need an offseason procedure to address the slight meniscus tear in his knee—but only if symptoms persist. The belief is his symptoms will subside because the bone bruise is causing most of his current discomfort…and a lot of rest over the break will help that.
Joel Embiid has a torn meniscus in his left knee, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation. The tear was discovered after Embiid underwent an MRI following a 93-92 victory on January 20th over the Portland Trailblazers. Embiid left the game in the third quarter with a left knee contusion after landing awkwardly following a drive to the basket.
There is some thought that the torn meniscus could be a pre-existing condition which the ensuing MRI discovered, rather than caused by the fall on January 20th, although the two injuries being related has not been completely ruled out. The tear is a low-grade tear and is not expected to require surgical intervention. It is unclear whether the tear is contributing to the soreness and swelling which has kept Embiid out of 11 of the last 12 games, including the last 8 in a row.
Tom Moore: #Sixers Brown says 'I really don't know' when Embiid will be able to play again. Says Embiid looked good today at shootaround.
Tom Moore: Brown: 'I understand what people are asking' about Embiid dancing onstage. ... 'I'm not going to answer anything more about Joel dancing.'
Jessica Camerato: Sixers announced Embiid will not play tomorrow vs. the Heat. He still is out with a left knee contusion.
Brian Seltzer: Bryan Colangelo on @975TheFanatic on Embiid, Simmons: "We're taking every precaution. It's a long-term scenario" as opposed to rushing.
Derek Bodner: Bryan Colangelo on @975TheFanatic says they still don't have a timeline for Embiid. Says they're waiting for knee to be asymptomatic.
Tom Moore: #Sixers confirm Embiid to miss two more games. Status beyond that TBA. Holmes questionable tonight
Phiadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid will miss at least the next two games as he contrinues to recover from a bone bruise in his left knee, the team announced. Embiid, who has missed six straight games and nine of the Sixers' last 10 games, will also not play in Wednesday's game against the San Antonio Spurs and will not travel with the team for Thursday's game at Orlando.
Joel Embiid will miss his fifth consecutive game and his eighth out of the last nine Monday night when the 76ers play the Detroit Pistons. And Sixers coach Brett Brown will say only that the center is expected to return from a left knee bone bruise in the "not-too-distant future."
Brown was asked Sunday if Embiid would be available for Wednesday's game against the San Antonio Spurs at the Wells Fargo Center. "I'm not sure," he said after the afternoon practice at Detroit Country Day School. Is that reason to be concerned? Not according to Brown.
Embiid, the oft-injured Philadelphia 76ers center, was ruled out for their game Monday against Sacramento because of a left knee contusion. He also will not travel with the Sixers for road games later this week against Dallas and San Antonio. The Sixers officially listed Embiid as doubtful for those two games.
"There's no red flags here," coach Brett Brown said. "It's just us going overboard, making sure we're doing the right thing with what all learning is a very important person in our program."
Brian Seltzer: Brett Brown tells WIP he worked Joel Embiid out for a bit today. Things moving in positive direction. No decision yet for tomorrow.
Derek Bodner: #sixers announce that both Joel Embiid (left knee contusion) and Jahlil Okafor (right knee soreness) will miss tonight's game at MIilwaukee.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Joel Embiid, who'll miss Clippers/Bucks games w/ left knee bruise, expected to return vs. Houston Friday, league sources tell @The Vertical
Keith Pompey: Sixers coach Brett Brown not sure when Joel Embiid will return. His injury is why the team recalled Richaun Holmes from @Sevens.
Derek Bodner: Embiid on hyperextended left knee: "I knew it was okay. I just landed the wrong way." Won't travel with team to Atlanta (back-to-back rest).
Derek Bodner: Embiid had an MRI done. Feels great. Says he wanted to play but the team cares about his health first, and they made the right decision.
Derek Bodner: #sixers announce Joel Embiid will not play for the remainder of the game. Left knee contusion. Precautionary reasons.
Before watching the decisive 5-minute extra session unfold, Embiid showed his frustration at the conclusion on the first overtime. The 7-foot-2, 276-pounder kicked a chair on the team bench after the team doctors denied his request to play on. "I respect that," Brown said of Embiid's visible display of frustration. "Very much I respect that. You see how much he wants to help us try to win, how competitive he is. I mean that's a hard life to live, isn't it? [It is] from everybody's perspective, coaches, teammates, Joel's, fans. But it's just the way it is."
Joel Embiid is listed as questionable for Saturday night’s matchup with the Phoenix Suns at the Wells Fargo Center with a mild left ankle sprain. The 76ers center suffered the injury in the first quarter of Thursday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center. Embiid went to the bench momentary in that game before returning to play. He finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds to post his third double-double of the season. After the game, Embiid said his ankle felt fine.
When Embiid was injured, he did not grant interviews, so he has a lot to say. He speaks with a French accent, in a flowing stream of consciousness, about everything from Cameroon’s educational system to Florida’s topography to Marc Gasol’s jab step. He is engaging, charismatic and funny, but unlike many foreign big men, his humor is intentional. “You know how I learned to shoot?” Embiid says. “I watched white people. Just regular white people. They really put their elbow in and finish up top. You can find videos of them online.”
Last October, the day before the first anniversary of Arthur’s death, The Cauldron ran a distressing story about Embiid’s arduous rehab. Ensuing headlines focused on his exaggerated affection for Shirley Temples. You’d have thought he was chugging Moonshine laced with grenadine. Upset by both timing and content, Embiid considered quitting the NBA and returning to Cameroon, where he could honor his brother in peace. Maybe he’d go back to volleyball, his first chosen sport. His father had warned him about the dangers of hoops. “I wanted to get away from all this drama,” Embiid recalls, “and stay away.” He had been in America for four years and lived in four cities, a hardwood nomad, always moving alone. “I never had a girlfriend before, but back then I had some type of girlfriend." Embiid says. “One day I told her my whole story.”
When Embiid clashed with a Sixers strength and conditioning coach during a road trip in late ’14—a source says the staffer set him on a scale one too many times—he was sent back to Philadelphia. “Joel is a maverick,” Brown says. “He’s curious. He’s competitive. Those qualities are going to allow him to maximize his very evident gifts. But when he was out, those qualities sometimes made it a challenge to always walk that Boy Scout’s line.” Brown looked for something to scare Embiid—“Appropriate fear had to creep in,” the coach says. “‘Maybe I’m going to struggle to play basketball. Maybe there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel’”—and the dreaded MRI did it.
Hinkie was there for Embiid when Arthur died, sitting in his apartment with Brown and Mbah a Moute, then flying him to Cameroon for the funeral. He was there last season, when the Sixers nearly upset the Warriors at Wells Fargo Center, and Embiid stomped excitedly around the suite. He is not there anymore, having resigned in April, but Embiid channels Hinkie every time he references The Process, which occurs nearly every time he opens his mouth. “I think a lot about what I went through and how it prepared me to be a better man,” Embiid says. “I really feel like I’m The Process, like The Process is about me.”
Tom Moore: #Sixers B Colangelo: 'I think it's safe to say (Embiid) won't be playing in back to backs.'
The Sixers will have him on a minutes restriction. Embiid also isn't expected to play on back-to-back nights. They won't know if he'll start at center against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the season-opener until after consulting with the medical staff.
"I'm sure that everyone should have optimism," Colangelo told CSNPhilly.com at the Basketball Hall of Fame. "But there's a word I've always used over the years about optimism. It should be guarded optimism because things take time. When you're building teams — and I've had the privilege of doing that quite a few times in my career — you're adding pieces here and there, and then once in a while you strike out and get that last piece. I think where the Sixers are today is, this is the beginning of that particular process, and that is building what everyone would hope to be a championship team."
"With all of the reports that I've seen and all the footage I've seen in terms of video, it appears that he's headed in the right direction," Colangelo said of Embiid. "I know that everyone's excited about training camp because of all of the new faces. ... The fortunate ability to have the first pick and select Ben Simmons, you put all those new players on paper and to add that to a roster, it's going to be really interesting, exciting to see how it all plays out."
Several weeks later, Embiid linked up with the Sixers in Las Vegas, where he practiced in spurts with players on the summer league squad, and went through individual training and skill development sessions as well. “My summer has been great,” said Embiid, who this off-season has spent time in both Philadelphia and Los Angeles. “We’ve been working on a lot. I’ve got a chance to play a little bit against the guys, so it’s been great.”
The week before the draft, however, news broke that Embiid had sustained a stress fracture in his right foot. Ever since, he and the Sixers have been purposefully and creatively attempting to rehab and manage the injury. “I haven’t played in two years, so...I think I’ll start a little slow,” Embiid allowed. This time last summer, the then-21 year old was only days removed from his second foot surgery, which, of course, subsequently sidelined him for the 2015-2016 campaign.
“He’s a great player, so I’m looking forward to playing with him,” Simmons said. “Off the court we’re like brothers. We have fun.” “I feel 100% and ready to get started,” Embiid said. “My summer’s been great. We’ve been working out a lot.”
Adam Zagoria: Bryan Colangelo also says Joel Embiid is 'moving up and down the court in 5-on-5 progression' and "we like what we see.'
Brian Seltzer: Brett Brown on Joel Embiid: "There has to be a realization of expectations; we haven't seen him play." Sees joy in Embiid right now.
After a full year of rehabilitation, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has been cleared to start light scrimmaging in five-on-five settings, league sources told The Vertical. It is the next step in the process to make his NBA debut in 2016-17.
The 7-foot Embiid has been impressive in his non-contact workouts in recent weeks at the 76ers’ facility, sources said, and the soundness of his problematic right foot should continue to allow him to begin preparations for next season.
August 12, 2022 | 7:41 pm EDT Update
Marc Stein: The first draft of next season’s NBA schedule has Lakers at Dallas/LeBron James at Luka Doncic on Christmas Day, league sources tell me. Changes are still possible before the full schedule officially drops next week but Christmas games usually hold. More NBA from me: marcstein.Substack.com
Although all of the rules and dates are in place, it’s an extremely open secret that there are no rules that truly govern free agency or trades. “There’s not a team in this league that follows the tampering rules to a T,” one front-office executive said. “But there are 30 teams in this league that find ways around the rules every day.”
One person from the league office, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said if a better solution was presented the league would jump at it, but there’s no hope that any such solution exists. “The threat of harsher penalties and random audits doesn’t even make teams flinch,” the source said. “And at this point, if we investigated every possible instance of tampering, the whole league would come to a screeching halt and nothing would ever get done.”
Grant Williams said he has been in contact with Brown since the rumors began gaining steam this summer. “It’s a significant rumor,” said Williams who added, “It’s something you want to take for a grain of salt. I feel like JB is mature in his mindset; he knows that. I’ve talked to him, texted him…it’s one of those things, this league is a business. It’s one of those things you can’t be discouraged by.”
NBA Central: Kyrie and Russ in the lab 👀 (h/t @LakersDailyCom | via integrityhoops) pic.twitter.com/LST041ZNXI
August 12, 2022 | 5:50 pm EDT Update
Tony Jones: Sam Merrill received a two year deal from the Sacramento Kings, League Sources tell The Athletic. The deal comes with a partial guarantee, so he will have to make the roster. But the Kings currently have spots available. @Chris Haynes first reported an agreement
Chris Haynes: Free agent forward Justin Tillman who made All-NBA G-League First Team last season has reached an agreement with the Denver Nuggets, his agent Daniel Hazan of @hazansportsmgmt tells @YahooSports.