Joel Embiid injury update: Sixers star may not play in Game 1 of first-round playoff series vs. Nets

The Philadelphia 76ers clinched the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs this season, but it's not all good news in Philly. According to 76ers general manager Elton Brand, their star big man Joel Embiid may not be ready for Game 1 of their first-round playoff series with the Brooklyn Nets

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday evening, Brand said that it was "possible" that Embiid could miss out on the first game of the postseason. Via ESPN:

General manager Elton Brand said Wednesday that Embiid was expected to play in the postseason, but added it was "possible" the 7-foot center wouldn't be ready for the first game. Embiid sat out Wednesday's regular-season finale against Chicago, his fifth absence in seven games to close out the season.

Head coach Brett Brown didn't make things any clearer with his answers about the situation. Via NBC Sports Philadelphia: 

"I expect our starters to be available," Brown said. "If somebody tells me different, then so be it. But I hope my gut feel is right. That's what I expect and if somebody comes and says that's not going to happen, then I'll deal with it."

...

"I don't know. I think that when the medical people and Elton can address that we'll all get better information."

...

"Let me just say this for everybody: The club will make a statement in a clearer way than I guess I have about Joel. I'm done with the Joel questions. We'll put out something that is fair. I get your questions, but I'm done answering those."

With the Sixers' playoff position secured early, not much was made of Embiid missing five out of seven games to close the season. Teams rest star players down the stretch all the time, and with Embiid's injury history and workload, the fact that he was sitting out didn't raise many eyebrows.  

But as it turns out, he apparently wasn't just sitting out to rest. Embiid has been fairly healthy this season, save for an eight-game absence coming out of the All-Star break to rest his sore knee. It remains to be seen whether this current issue is related to his earlier knee issue, or if it's something different. 

The statements from Brand and Brown don't make it seem like this is a serious problem that could keep Embiid out for a long time, but this is a bit worrisome given Embiid's history.

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

Our Latest Stories