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March 13, 2021

Here's what we know so far about Joel Embiid's left knee injury

UPDATE [8:10 a.m.] — Sixers fans woke up to perhaps the best news possible, as the injury to Joel Embiid does not appear to be as serious as some folks feared:

Embiid limped off the court after Friday night's win against the Wizards under his own power and it looks as if that was because the setback was relatively minor. Woj went on to say that the Sixers expect Embiid to miss around two weeks. He'll be forced to sit out the team's first home game in front of fans in over a year Sunday (vs the Spurs) as well as (most likely) games against Knicks (x2), Bucks, Kings, Warriors, Lakers and Clippers — some of the team's premiere match ups this season.

From earlier...

Sixers center Joel Embiid suffered what the Sixers would only refer to as a left knee injury during Friday night's game against the Wizards, exiting during the third quarter following a scary fall.

Going up for a dunk with the Sixers cruising in the third quarter, Embiid was met by Washington two-way player Garrison Matthews, and the result of the collision led to hyperextension of Embiid's left knee — a knee Embiid previously had operated on following an issue back in 2017.

"I thought there was a little contact when he went up to dunk the ball. Thought he fell with his balance off. I'm not going to speculate, tomorrow we'll know, we'll have all the information for you. Hoping for the best, " Doc Rivers said after the game. "I did talk to him, he was in the locker room. He's in pretty good spirits so let's just hope for the best."

Embiid is expected to get an MRI when the team returns to Philadelphia and can be evaluated by the team's doctors, and Rivers noted he did not think Embiid had received an X-ray while at Washington's arena.

While some Sixers fans will look at Embiid walking off as a positive sign, it's far too early to judge one way or another. He would not be the first player to walk off despite dealing with some sort of serious ligament issue, though the Sixers will obviously be hoping it's less serious than that.

To put it frankly, any sort of serious injury would derail Philadelphia's season. Embiid has been in legitimate MVP form, the best player on the best team in the conference, and losing their walking matchup nightmare would cripple this team's chances to contend. Their impotence without him over the years speaks for itself, and with so much of their offensive identity tied to Embiid's post-up prowess this season, they would have to reimagine their team on the fly if this knocks him out for any length of time.

Even if the Sixers are able to avoid a worst-case scenario, the downside is tremendous for Philadelphia. Their second-half schedule is a gauntlet, and the tough times begin in earnest over the next week, with Milwaukee coming to town before an extended West Coast road trip offers the stiffest test of the season. Any slip-ups threaten to cost them their lead at the top of the conference, and falling from the top seed could be the difference between seeing a team like the Nets or Bucks in round two compared to the Celtics or Heat, which is pretty significant.

For his part, Doc Rivers declined to focus on that sort of long-term issue yet. His message after the game was simple: let's wait and see what the doctors have to say.

"We don't do anything right now because we don't have any information, so we're just gonna wait," Rivers said. "I thought our guys took care of the game which is great, and then tomorrow we'll get some more information and then we'll go from there. Listen, it's a long season, so at the end of the day, hopefully, it's not something where we lose him, obviously. But our guys will be good, we'll be ready."

As we learn more, we will keep you updated on the situation as more details come in.

This story is developing...

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