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Joel Embiid put together a masterful performance Thursday night to carry the Philadelphia 76ers to a win over the New York Knicks in Game 3 of their first-round playoff matchup. The Knicks still hold a 2-1 series advantage, but Embiid's 50-point outburst gave the Sixers life in this series and showed why he's the reigning league MVP. But after the game, the attention shifted away from Embiid's scoring to his face, which had been visibly drooping, while his left eye hadn't been blinking. Embiid confirmed during the postgame press conference he had been diagnosed with Bell's palsy last week, dating back to before the Sixers' play-in game against the Miami Heat.

"It's pretty annoying. My left side of my face, my mouth and my eye, so yeah, it's been tough," Embiid said. "But I'm not a quitter, so I got to keep fighting through anything. It's unfortunate, that's the way I look at it. That's not an excuse, I got to keep pushing."

Embiid had reportedly been trying to keep the diagnosis under wraps, but after Thursday night's game, it became difficult to ignore the way it was affecting his face.

What is Bell's palsy?

Here's how Johns Hopkins Medicine defines it:

"Bell's palsy is an unexplained episode of facial muscle weakness or paralysis. It begins suddenly and worsens over 48 hours. This condition results from damage to the facial nerve. Pain and discomfort usually occur on one side of the face or head."

Embiid has been wearing sunglasses while talking to media, or holding his head down to not show his face, as he was likely trying to avoid attention surrounding it. He said the symptoms started a day or two before the Heat game on April 17, as he was dealing with a bad migraine. According to Johns Hopkins, Bell's palsy most often occurs in people who have diabetes, the flu, a cold or other respiratory illness, as well as pregnant women. The cause of the paralysis is unknown, but Johns Hopkins says, "It is thought that it may be due to inflammation that is directed by the body's immune system against the nerve controlling movement of the face." Bell's palsy can impact anyone of any age, and while it's not considered permanent, in rare cases it could remain. However, most people diagnosed with Bell's palsy end up regaining full strength in their facial muscles.

What are the symptoms of Bell's palsy?

Embiid is experiencing most of the common symptoms of Bell's palsy, including loss of feeling in the face, headache and "disordered movement" of the muscles in the face that control smiling, blinking, squinting and closing your eye. But other symptoms, according to Johns Hopkins, are tearing, drooling, loss of taste on the front of your tongue, hypersensitivity to sound in the affected ear, and inability to close your eye on the affected side of your face.

How do you treat Bell's palsy?

If Bell's palsy is being caused by something specific, like having the flu or cold, then it would be treated by taking flu or cold medicine. If there isn't a specific cause, Johns Hopkins says that treatment options include ensuring the impacted eye remains protected with eye drops or an ointment. Antiviral medication can be taken, and so can a steroid that will help with the inflammation. Physical therapy to help stimulate the facial nerves is an option, or applying heat to the affected area to relieve pain.

Bell's palsy typically resolves over time, and given that Embiid has been able to play for the past week -- and drop 50 points on Thursday -- it doesn't appear to be affecting him too severely where it is impacting his game. People impacted by Bell's palsy often start to recover two weeks to six months after symptoms first started. Since Embiid began experiencing symptoms a couple of days before April 17, he could hopefully be nearing the road to recovery soon.