NBA rumors: Joel Embiid skipping summer league?

On April 27, Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said he wouldn’t rule it out, though the organization wasn’t going to rush the 7-foot-2, 275-pound Embiid back before he’s ready. He has repeated a similar stance in recent weeks. But an NBA source Thursday called it “unlikely” that Embiid would participate in the Utah Jazz Summer League from July 4-7 or the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas from July 8-18.

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The source said Embiid playing less than 11 months after bone graft surgery on his right foot wasn't "practical." The last thing the Sixers want is Embiid experiencing a setback that could jeopardize or delay his regular-season debut. Embiid has missed his first two pro seasons due to a pair of foot surgeries. Embiid, who was expected to begin playing 2-on-2 this week, remains optimistic that he'll be ready for the start of the 2016-17 season.
Brett Brown mentioned that just a few days ago, he conducted an on-court session involving Joel Embiid. “He’s moving well,” said Brown. “I think his spirit’s fantastic. Everything is looking great right now. I’m thrilled for him, he deserves it, he put in the time, and I thought he looked good in the workout the other day.”
Bryan Colangelo provided additional comments on Embiid’s status, saying, “[Embiid] has been on the court, working out slowly and methodically getting back to the point where he’s going to be ready for some five-on-five type competition. At what point, I’m not sure yet, but he looks terrific in his drill work. He’s coming along. That’s not to get over-hyped about it. It’s just to say he’s progressing well, and that’s encouraging for all of us.”
Colangelo hasn't ruled out Embiid playing summer league ball in July, which would be 11 months after his second straight season-ending right foot surgery. "It's an evolving process," Colangelo said. "We hope to get to the point where we get him healthy, ready and prepared to play basketball. At some point, people will be very happy to see him in a uniform. I do not want to try to speed that up. I can tell you he's been handled the right way, based on what I can tell. It seems like he's moving in the right direction every day. The good news is he's in Philadelphia and we can have daily contact. He's got a very regimented, planned-out schedule."
Colangelo expects Embiid to spend the bulk of the offseason here, though Embiid could head out to his U.S. home base of Los Angeles once or twice.
Tom Moore: Joel Embiid is back from Qatar. #Sixers #NBA https://t.co/QGgDUJq59v
Tom Moore: Embiid seems to be moving a little quicker than before he went to Qatar. Hunched over a lot (appears a bit winded). #Sixers
It looks like Sixers center Joel Embiid has time for a little bit of fun in between his rehab sessions. Embiid returned to world renowned private hospital Aspetar in Qatar over a week ago to continue his training for the 2016-17 NBA season, and apparently ran into PSG midfielder Javier Pastore. Paris St. Germain has an agreement with Aspetar to be the official medical partner of the club until the end of next season. Seeing as how soccer was Embiid's first love, it was only right that the two kicked it around a little bit.
If Embiid is spending two weeks in Qatar, as reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, that'd give him only 1 1/2 weeks to spend with the Sixers prior to the April 13 season finale in Chicago. "He hasn't had any development," said an NBA source. "He has not been around the team or a winning culture." The source believes the trips to Qatar could indicate "there's something wrong" with Embiid, though a second source denied that is the case. "You don't send somebody to Qatar just to get a checkup," said an NBA source prior to the news coming out that Embiid had gone back.
Tom Moore: #Sixers Brett Brown: Joel Embiid hasn't had a setback, then says 'How about Villanova?'
But based on discussions with three longtime NBA executives and online research, it appears the Sixers are hoping Embiid can become the first player in league history to be a difference-maker after missing his first two seasons due to injury. "I'm sure there aren't many," said a league source. "I don't think I've heard of that happening."
As for those wondering if Embiid's foot is progressing as quickly as it should, the first source said, "Don't believe (it's not). He's doing fine — well, in fact. He's reached another gear."
Two sources expressed surprise that the Sixers don't plan to let Embiid first experience NBA ball in a more controlled atmosphere during July's summer leagues like they did with Nerlens Noel in July 2014 after Noel was sidelined for his first year with a torn ACL. "All of this pressure is going to be on him to perform," said the third source. "He's the face of the franchise. Why wouldn't you get him out in Vegas against rookies and first- and second-year players who don't play a lot, or fringe guys?"
Embiid supposedly advanced to play some 4-on-4 last spring, only to re-injure the foot and require a second season-ending bone graft surgery in August 2015 in which the two screws were replaced. "In the prime of his learning curve, he's not learning," said a third league source.
Joel Embiid is back in Qatar. This time, the 76ers center has some team personnel with him. Embiid left Philadelphia this week and will spend the next several weeks at Aspetar, an orthopedic and sports medicine hospital located in Doha, Qatar. He had a lot of success there, and the team wanted to send him back for more treatment, according to a source.
A lot of hype surrounding the 76ers' 2016-17 season involves Joel Embiid. That's when the 7-foot-2 center is scheduled to make his debut after being sidelined this season and last season following surgeries to his right foot. But . . . "I think everybody also must understand that . . . it's not like [Embiid] is going to come out and play 40 minutes and play 82 games," Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "That would be naive and not true.
"I think everybody also must understand that . . . it's not like [Embiid] is going to come out and play 40 minutes and play 82 games," Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "That would be naïve and not true. "We have to be responsible with some minute restrictions with him. You would assume that he's not going to play back-to-back games. All those things will be determined."
But the biggest thing that Aspetar might offer is a place of familiarity for Embiid. For a French-speaking Cameroonian athlete who grew up playing soccer, a medical staff that widely speaks French is a little slice of home. Not only that, it's a whole lot nicer to be in Doha, Qatar, where the highs are in the upper 70s than in the harsh, dark winters of Philadelphia. "He bought in in a big way," Brown says of Embiid. "He is doing great. I feel like I see an older player, a more committed, excited player. The recognition that he hasn't played basketball in a while, he can't miss a bit, he can't miss a step. The circle of people we've put around him is massive."
Embiid put up shots before Wednesday’s game against the Hornets and was working with coaches and Carl Landry long after Sixers practice wrapped Thursday. Each workout session is planned out without going overboard to rush the schedule. He has not appeared in an NBA game since being drafted third overall by the Sixers in 2014. “It’s very monitored,” Brown said. “It’s very structured. It’s deliberate practice. It needs to be. Any excitement that we see coming back, it can’t be misinterpreted and abused where you do something longer or harder or more of than you should have. There’s a diet. There is a prescribed duration of drills and time and so on that we have to stick to and it is increasing.”
“The first time through, he got injured and had surgery in June [2014] and was getting ready for Summer League in July [2015]. This last time, he had surgery in August [2015],” Hinkie continued. “We definitely wouldn’t push him to be ready in July [2016], and I’m not sure it would make a whole lot of sense at, the end of the day.”
The source called this a "previously scheduled" trip at a facility the organization had investigated for roughly six months and referred to it as "a kick-start to the next phase" of Embiid's rehab. The source, emphasizing Embiid hasn't had a setback, said Embiid's stay involves "evaluation, consultation, training and meeting with lots of specialists."
Joel Embiid is in the midst of his West Coast rehabilitation plan. The 76ers' sidelined center arrived in Los Angeles on Thursday. Sixers coach Brett Brown said he would stay for a few days, doing on- and off-the-court work. Asked if Embiid's trip to California included a doctor's visit, Brown responded, "Not so much that." "It's all part of that rehab and that plan and path that he is on with David Martin, one of the world's recognized sports scientists," Brown said. Martin is the team's director of health and performance research. "He's created a plan and path. The number of people around Joel Embiid is massive.
League sources say Sixers management was comfortable with the medical information it had on Embiid heading into the 2014 draft. The team attributes Embiid's continued absence (he's likely to miss the entire season again) to subsequent setbacks. Nonetheless, in the third year of Hinkie's rebuilding plan, most of the harvest has yet to come in. Nerlens Noel, the sixth pick in 2013 acquired from New Orleans in the Jrue Holiday trade, missed his entire rookie season but has begun to assert himself as a defensive presence (though not much of an offensive one).
The 76ers consulted physicians from around the country and the world, including specialists from Australia, the Netherlands and Qatar, before Embiid's second surgery. There are no guarantees that this operation will work -- everyone thought the first one would do the trick -- but Embiid at least is staying on top of his conditioning, after numerous stories came out during the summer about his being out of shape. "He just seems like (there's) a new level of maturity, a new level of seriousness in him," a source said. "The gravity of the situation is on him; it's on everyone."
Brown said injured center Joel Embiid is "doing great." "Most importantly, he's doing fantastically in his mind," Brown said. "He is so determined to do everything that he has to, everything that people are telling him that he has to do, to get it right. There is a real progression, I think, in his maturity and his seriousness to understanding truly what needs to be done for him to give himself every chance to get back on the court."
Christopher A. Vito: Brett Brown said this marks the second time Ilgaukas has met with Embiid. (Both are int'l centers who have endured navicular surgeries.)
Injured center Joel Embiid warmly greeted his teammates in the locker room before the game, lamenting how he keeps getting "sniped" in the video game Call of Duty. Embiid, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, is missing his second straight season with right foot surgery. He was wearing a protective boot on the foot Monday.
Tom Moore: #Sixers center Joel Embiid a few moments ago. https://t.co/AwF9BpW8ut
According to the article, published Friday morning, Embiid physically threatened the team's strength coach last season, causing Embiid to be sent home from a West Coast road trip. The report said Embiid, 21, repeatedly refused to answer questions by the training staff about his workouts as he rehabs from two surgeries on his right foot. "It's just one of those things that we move on from," Brown said before a 127-118 preseason loss to Washington at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday night. "We're pretty much treating it as noise. We will move on from it."
The fact that Brown sent Embiid home from a West Coast road trip last season for being insubordinate to the team’s strength coach and training staff is well documented, but according to a source, the tipping point in the decision was Embiid physically threatening the strength coach on that road trip. According to sources, this followed a pattern of insubordination from Embiid during the rehabilitation of his initial foot injury that sidelined him for the entire 2014–15 season, where he would repeatedly refuse to answer questions from the training staff about his workouts and therapy sessions.
Max Rapaport: Hinkie says original fracture site was improving month by month before CT scan showed less healing early in summer; no symptoms of re-break. In other words, Hinkie says Joel Embiid didn’t re-break his navicular bone. Less healing than expected was cause for second procedure.
Steve Kyler: Interesting comment from 76ers source on Joel Embiid rehab 76ers "not worried about next ten months, more concerned about next ten years". 76ers stance on rehab is that a conservative and complete rehab schedule will be followed, no corners will be cut, no artificial timelines
There was no immediate word from the Sixers and general manager Sam Hinkie didn't respond to a text message. It's unclear where the surgery was performed. The Sixers sent out a release July 11 saying Embiid would have a bone graft “in the next seven to 10 days.” Embiid is expected to sit out the 2015-16 season.
Sixers center Joel Embiid had successful foot surgery on Tuesday, according to a league source. The source described the surgery as "all good."
Joel Embiid: EVERYTHING WENT REALLY WELL..... Excited for the future #BELIEVE #JE21 #Sixers http://instagram.com/p/6ii7VkFrvL/
The $9 million the Philadelphia 76ers ownership will pay Joel Embiid in his first two years, even though he has not played an NBA game, will come out of their pockets. Although Embiid's contract is insured, since it is among the five highest salaries on the team, sources say Embiid's right foot was excluded from the policy because it was a pre-existing injury.
Marc J. Spears: Joel Embiid, who will have Kevin Durant type foot surgery Tuesday, made classy move by attending Sixers asst. @LloydPierceLP wedding Friday.
Joel Embiid has not yet undergone a second surgery on his right foot, sources close to the situation told CSNPhilly.com, however, that procedure is still scheduled to take place and Embiid is still expected to miss the upcoming 2015-16 season. In early July, the Philadelphia Inquirer first reported that Embiid will require another surgery to address the navicular bone injury in his right foot. The team confirmed that report in a statement and said it anticipated “the procedure will take place in the next 7-10 days.” That was nearly a month ago, and Embiid has yet to have the surgery.
The holdup has led to speculation in the media. When asked about the delay, one source said it was partly because Embiid -- who is 21 and who, according to president/general manager Sam Hinkie, has been pain-free -- was coming to terms with the decision. The source indicated that Embiid and his confidants wanted more time to review the matter and select a doctor. A doctor has been chosen, though the source declined to provide that information.
The source said Embiid also reached out to Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant. The Thunder star underwent a bone graft on his right foot in late March. That surgery was performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, home to one of at least 12 doctors the Sixers and Embiid have so far consulted about Embiid’s hyper-complicated situation.
What is going on with Joel Embiid and his impending surgery? For some reason, the 76ers aren't telling. Numerous texts and phone calls to president and general manager Sam Hinkie and others in the organization by the Daily News have gotten no response as the time frame the team set for Embiid's second surgery on his injured right foot has passed by nearly a month.
When and how this most recent injury happened is still a mystery. Since the season ended and up until the June 13 statement, a source said Embiid was working out daily at the team's practice facility. When asked if he was playing five-on-five, the source said no, but "only because there weren't enough people to play five-on-five. He was playing very meaningful games of three-on-three and was doing fullcourt workouts. He is pretty much a full go." Words used to describe Embiid's play were "dominant" and "explosive."
Could Embiid be waiting for the surgery? Is the Sixers’ potential franchise center trying to avoid a second operation after having two screws inserted into his navicular bone on his foot 13½ months ago, which caused him to miss his rookie campaign? Did Embiid already have surgery? Is he recuperating in Los Angeles or someplace else? The answer to these and other questions is: your guess is as good as mine. If the Sixers know, they’re not saying. The fans want to — and deserve to — know.
“I knew about it before [it was announced]; we talked about it a few weeks ago,” Okafor said of Embiid’s injury. “It’s unfortunate, but I’m here for him. I know he’s definitely disappointed. I’m just going to be there for him and play for him as well. … It doesn’t [change my role]. My role is to dominate. I’m one of the centerpieces of this team, so my role is the same.”
Hinkie said the Sixers consulted with experts from five states, as well as Australia, the Netherlands and Qatar. The Sixers are concerned this could be career-threatening, a source told Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Embiid had two screws inserted into the navicular bone in his foot to repair a stress fracture in June 2014. He was projected to miss five to nine months, but didn't play in the 2014-15 season and never even scrimmaged 5-on-5.
John R. Finger: league source confirms the report from @Keith Pompey. Embiid to have surgery. Could miss another season.
76ers center Joel Embiid will likely miss the 2015-16 season. The 7-footer will have a second surgery after the latest setback in the healing of his right foot, according to several NBA sources. The team will decide whether to have it in North Carolina or at the New York Hospital of Special Surgery. “I would say there’s a great possibility that Embiid won’t play next year,” the source said. “Just think how long they sat him when they thought he was healthy.”
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