The Story: Joel Embiid is hurt. Again. Markelle Fultz’s problematic shoulder crashed into Embiid’s face during the second quarter of Philly’s game against the Knicks on Wednesday night. On Thursday, the Sixers announced that Embiid has an orbital fracture that will require surgery as well as a concussion and will be out an undetermined amount of time.
The Importance: I don’t know where to begin with this. The irony of Fultz injuring Embiid is far too overwhelming and Process-damaging to even discuss. After the game, the Sixers called the injury a facial contusion and said he had passed the initial concussion-protocol test. But sources told Philly.com on Thursday morning that the “eye was kind of caved in.” Um. I’ve worn glasses my whole life and I’m not a licensed optometrist, but I’m gonna go ahead and say that that does not sound great. As Thursday night’s slate of games tipped off, the Sixers announced Embiid will need surgery before returning to the court.
Pending the results of surgery, Embiid could return to play in 2-4 weeks, per league source. First round obviously in some jeopardy.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) March 30, 2018
Not only does that severely damage the Sixers chances for the 3-seed, but if he can’t return for the first round of the playoffs, Philly’s postseason hopes are basically a pipe dream. The Sixers are 15.5 points better per 100 possessions when Embiid is on the floor. He’s an All-Star and is likely a top-five Defensive Player of the Year candidate. They’re a dangerous playoff team with him and a fringe playoff team without him.
The Takeaway: You don’t really need official team updates when the player is posting Instagram stories from a hospital bed.
Embiid doesn't appear to be having a good time while stuck in a hospital bed pic.twitter.com/UNu6KVCysW— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) March 29, 2018
This just doesn’t feel fair. The franchise player who appeared to have conquered his propensity for injuries and finally put a string of 63 games together this season gets derailed by a fluky collision with the no. 1 draft pick, who had just returned from an extended absence, just eight games away from the playoffs? Shame on you, basketball gods.
Oh, and one last thing: It pains me to say this, but for the first time since February 22, on Friday and for the foreseeable future, it’ll be time to change this to “No.”