- Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid will require surgery to treat an orbital fracture in his left eye, the team announced on Thursday.
- The surgery means that the Sixers will likely be without their best player to start their first postseason run since 2012.
- Embiid suffered the injury after colliding with the newly returned teammate and 2017 first overall pick Markelle Fultz during the Sixers game against the New York Knicks on Wednesday.
Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid will require surgery to treat an orbital fracture in his left eye, the Sixers announced on Thursday.
The injury puts Embiid’s playoff availability for the Sixers in jeopardy, at least for the first round, as his timetable for return has yet to be determined. Embiid also is reported to have a concussion, despite initially passing the league’s concussion protocol.
Embiid suffered the injury on Wednesday night after colliding with the newly returned teammate and 2017 first overall pick Markelle Fultz during the Sixers game against the New York Knicks – Embiid received a pass from Fultz, and then Fultz got too close to Embiid while attempting to run off him on a pick. The crowd immediately reacted as Embiid fell to the floor and laid there for the remainder of the play.
You can watch the scene play out below.
Joel Embiid is out for the game with a facial bruise after colliding with Markelle Fultz on this play. pic.twitter.com/UzAfiuygig
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) March 29, 2018
The Sixers were set to enter the postseason as one of the hottest teams in all of basketball, having won eight straight and with a favourable schedule ahead of them. Now, it looks as though they will at the very least enter the first round of the playoffs without their leading scorer and rebounder, and the centrepiece of their defence.
The news is especially heartbreaking because Markelle Fultz was on the other side of the collision. Fultz, the Sixers much-maligned first overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, was playing in just his second game back with the team after missing the majority of the season after his shot mysteriously disappeared amidst shoulder issues.
Posting to Twitter, Embiid said he would simply “Trust the Process” and teased the idea of him playing in a mask with the hashtag #Two-Face.
— Joel “Troel” Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) March 30, 2018
For now, the Sixers will have to wait and see how Embiid recovery goes, putting a damper on the high playoff hopes the team had entering their first postseason since 2012.