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March 01, 2017

Embiid's rookie season is over as MRI reveals 'more pronounced' meniscus tear

Sixers NBA

Sixers rookie center Joel Embiid (knee) is more injured than previously known and will not play again this season, the team announced on Wednesday afternoon.

As it turns out –and because nothing about this team's recently slew of medical missteps makes much sense – it's not even the bone bruise that had sidelined him for the last month causing the problems. No, it's the meniscus tear, the one the team spent so much time assuring us was not part of the problem and was actually a preexisting injury that popped up on his original MRI back in late January.

"The assessment of Monday's follow-up MRI of Joel Embiid's left knee appears to reveal that the area affected by the bone bruise has improved significantly, while the previously identified meniscus tear appears more pronounced in this most recent scan," said Sixers Chief Medical Director Dr. Jonathan Glashow in a team release. "We will continue to work with leading specialists to gather additional information through clinical examination and sequential testing to determine the best course of action and next steps."

On Friday, general manager an president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo announced that Embiid, who averaged 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 31 games this season, would be "out indefinitely" after spending the better part of a month insisting that the injured center was day-to-day.

Now, his rookie season is over.

"Our primary objective and focus remains to protect his long-term health and ability to perform on the basketball court," Colangelo said Wednesday. "As our medical team and performance staff continue their diligence in the evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation of Joel's injury, we will provide any pertinent updates when available."

The problem, however, is that fans are having a tough time believing anything that comes out of the Sixers organization these days. In addition to the uncertainty surrounding the health of first-overall pick Ben Simmons prior to the team shutting him down for the season on Friday (without any indication that he would undergo another procedure three days later), the information surrounding Embiid has also been maddeningly inconsistent.

Here's what Colangelo said regarding the MRI results after Embiid initially injured his knee:

"The MRI [after the Portland game] revealed obviously what we had thought to be a bone bruise. And there was also the recognition that there was a very minor meniscal tear. But it was not thought to be acute and it was not thought to be the source of the pain, inflammation or symptoms."
Embiid played three days later in a nationally televised game against the Rockets and was clearly still in pain.

That was over a month ago. He hasn't played since. And he won't be playing again until next season.


Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin

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