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February 11, 2017

Joel Embiid has a torn meniscus in his left knee

Sixers NBA

Joel Embiid dancing on stage at a Meek Mill concert last night caused some controversy around Philadelphia on Saturday, and as it turns out, the Sixers center had a slightly different injury than the team had been letting on.

Derek Bodner reported that Joel Embiid has a low-grade tear in his left meniscus, which the Sixers confirmed before Saturday night's game against the Miami Heat.

"The MRI [after the Portland game] revealed obviously what we had thought to be a bone bruise," Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said before Saturday night's game against the Miami Heat. "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."

Up to this point, the Sixers and Embiid referred to what has been keeping him out of the lineup (nine straight games and 12 of 13 overall) and  as either a bone bruise or contusion. The center has been working out at the practice facility recently, but he indicated to reporters that he hasn't been healthy enough to play at Saturday's shootaround.

According to Colangelo, the reason the information hadn't been shared is that the meniscus tear isn't thought to have happened when Embiid initially suffered the bone bruise dunking on Mason Plumlee:

Basically, Colangelo is saying there is a chance that Embiid has been averaging 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks while playing with this meniscal tear.

"It's not thought to be an acute injury, meaning likely or could have been pre-existing," Colangelo said. "But again, he's being treated for the bone bruise and the bone bruise treatment and progression toward getting back to play is a pattern of loading, recovery, or training that ultimately results in him being asymptomatic."

One of the major questions for Colangelo is why Embiid played a week after suffering the bone bruise against Houston on January 27th if he did have a torn meniscus. The Sixers lead decision maker said that the 7'2" center got to the point, after four days of treatment and workouts, where he was "asymptomatic" before that game. Two days after the Houston game, Colangelo said Embiid started to feel some swelling and soreness in the left knee.

"A lot of players play with minor tears," Colangelo said. "Once again, the injury is thought to be mostly about the bone bruise and that's what he's being treated for. The tear does not seem to be the source of the pain, the symptoms at this stage and he's moving forward accordingly via the things he's doing on the court."

Colangelo also said it is "very unlikely" that Embiid plays in next week's Rising Stars Challenge, specifically if he misses the next two Sixers games against Boston and Charlotte this upcoming week. In that case, Embiid would be held out at least through the NBA all-star break.

Multiple times, Colangelo emphasized that the Sixers don't believe that Embiid's injury is going to keep him out long-term. And while that may be true, it's safe to say that Joel Embiid's left-knee injury will be viewed differently than it was this morning.

And that is for reasons that have nothing do with him dancing at a concert.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann