The Philadelphia 76ers announced Tuesday that superstar Joel Embiid has undergone a surgical procedure to repair his left meniscus.
“Joel Embiid had a successful procedure today to address an injury to the lateral meniscus in his left knee,” the Sixers said in a statement. “He will be re-evaluated in approximately four weeks.”
The reported estimate for Embiid’s recovery was 1-2 months, and it seems like he’s on track for that. If his recovery from the procedure goes well, he could be ready to resume basketball activities in early March. He’ll presumably need some time to ramp up after surgery and a month off, but if all goes well, it’s possible he could be back before the end of the season. If he’s out for six weeks total, he’d still be able to get in at least 10 games before the playoffs hit.
Embiid, in the midst of the best season of his career and his second-straight MVP campaign, injured his knee on Jan. 31 in a 119-107 loss to the Golden State Warriors. He was eventually diagnosed with a displaced flap in the meniscus of his left knee after reportedly dealing with knee soreness over most of the season. Despite putting up incredible numbers, this injury will prevent him from qualifying for the MVP, as there is a 65-game minimum be eligible for the award.
Knee problems are nothing new for Embiid or the Sixers; he’s dealt with them over his entire his career, which he’s spent entirely in Philly. While the team undoubtedly wants Embiid to be fully healthy for the playoffs, they have 30 regular season games before they get there — and they’ll play probably more than half of those without their superstar.
Unfortunately, the Sixers don’t have a lot of breathing room. They’re 5th in the Eastern Conference with a 30-19 record, and there are just 3.5 games separating them from the play-in tournament.
The trade deadline is Thursday, so there’s still time for the Sixers to make an addition of some kind of offset the loss of Embiid. But is GM Daryl Morey interested in doing that? We’ll have to wait and see.