On July 11, the Philadelphia 76ers announced the 2014 No. 3 pick Joel Embiid would have to undergo a second surgery on his right foot, causing him to miss his entire second season.
Strangely, though, after the announcement, over a month went by before Embiid had the surgery.
After finally getting the procedure done on August 18, Sam Hinkie spoke to reporters and explained that after deciding to get surgery, Embiid then spent time talking to players and several specialists to get a group of surgeons together that he felt comfortable with.
Despite how much the Sixers have invested in Embiid, Hinkie has a surprisingly honest, refreshing, and genuine approach to how Embiid handled the surgery and the process (via Derek Bodner of Philadelphia Magazine):
“I thought it was a really reasonable approach and a good way to think about it if you’re a patient.”
“I think my estimate [for when Embiid would get surgery] stunk there. But at the same time, as we kept doing more and more research, I didn’t particularly care, honestly. It’s not about me. It’s about getting the answer right, and it’s about getting everybody comfortable with where we’re headed because of the gravity of the decision. We grew comfortable during that period that there weren’t any particular risks to waiting. I think time is on our side here.”
Hinkie said that he thinks it will be a five-to-eight month recovery time, but the Sixers won’t rush Embiid back just to have him play a few games at the end of the season:
“I didn’t see scenarios at that point, and I don’t see scenarios now, where you’re taking back information as he’s recovering and marking down these benchmarks against his recovery protocol, and then you’d say ‘Oh yeah, let’s throw him in a game the last 2 or 3 games of the season.’ It just doesn’t seem very likely.”
Embiid’s career is seemingly in jeopardy at this point. Although he’s just 21 years old, seven-footers with a history of foot surgeries don’t often progress well. He’s now had two surgeries in two years on the same foot, he’s had issues with his weight while rehabbing, and he still has to face a learning curve of playing in the NBA when he does see actual minutes.
Nonetheless, it’s refreshing to see Hinkie — famous for valuing his “assets” over all else — look at Embiid’s situation from a human standpoint. Getting Embiid healthy and fully recovered is the most important thing.
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