Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid has missed three consecutive games since enduring his gruesome hand injury against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Wednesday’s contest vs. the Brooklyn Nets will make it four games in a row missed, and with Embiid recently going under the knife, his time away from the court may be extensive.
Embiid Has Surgery, to be Re-Evaluated in 1-2 Weeks
Unless you have a Ph.D. under your belt or take a deep and odd interest in medical studies, you likely don’t know what a radial collateral ligament of the fourth metacarpal is. However, that’s exactly what Embiid tore in his left hand and the same injury that could have lasting ill-effects on the 76ers season, and the Eastern Conference playoff picture as a whole.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Embiid underwent successful surgery on January 10th to repair the injury and is set to be re-evaluated in one to two weeks. Yet, while that timeframe presents hope for Sixers faithful, the actual time frame for Embiid’s return to the lineup could be much further away.
NBC Sports Philadelphia got a chance to discuss Embiid’s injury extensively with surgeon Dr. Eric Strauss on Sixers Postgame Live. Strauss is not the same surgeon who performed Embiid’s surgery, but one that specializes specifically in hand surgery, and has an extensive background in hand injuries.
Here’s what Dr. Strauss had to say just days prior to Embiid’s surgery. The surgeon gave a bit more clarity to Embiid’s injury, and the lasting effects it will have on Philly’s big man.
“It’s like a hinge when you hang a door on a wall…When the hinge is torn, the door doesn’t open and close properly. Same thing with a ligament — the joint is unstable, and his was substantially unstable, obviously. So, it needs to be repaired, and evidently it’s being repaired shortly. That should fix his problem. It’s not career-ending.”
Dr. Strauss continued on, explaining in detail, the type of surgery Embiid could be expected to endure.
“It’s an open procedure where the surgeon will make an incision…What’s done is to take the ligament and put it back where it came from. It’s just torn off. And then insert usually a bone anchor to hold it there. Then, sometimes a little internal brace of a fabric to hold it strongly so that it can be rehabbed quickly.”
When Can We Expect Embiid Back on the Court?
According to Dr. Strauss, Embiid may not be ready for game action for nearly two months. Strauss states that “In a professional athlete, four to eight weeks would be the range where you would start looking for him on the court, I would say as a guess.” He did, however, reiterate that he was not the one performing the surgery and that he thinks “the surgeon at the time will be able to tell better after he’s fixed it, how long it would be.”
While these details help us better gauge the potential timeframe of Embiid’s availability, let’s remember that this is simply just an educated guess. Expect a more in-depth, and realistic answer to when Embiid will return to the court following his re-evaluation within the next one to two weeks.
The Sixers have gone just 1-2 without their star center who was averaging 23+ points and 12+ rebounds per game prior to the injury. That includes a loss to the Indian Pacers on Monday, causing Philly to drop to sixth in the Eastern Conference standings.