The Sixers are starting to look like a rudderless ship. Well, they’ll have to stay afloat without another star.
Joel Embiid has been ruled out for Thursday night’s home game against the New York Knicks, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Embiid left Wednesday’s contest after suffering a left shoulder sprain at the end of the first quarter and never returned. The All-Star center collided with Cavaliers center Ante Zizic. He underwent an MRI on Thursday morning and was still being evaluated.
According to The Inquirer‘s Keith Pompey, Embiid either suffered an AC sprain or an SC sprain of the left shoulder joint, an injury that carries a recovery time of anywhere from “7-10 days to upwards of 3-4 weeks.” It all depends on if and how much ligament damage was incurred. The Sixers haven’t released an official timeline for Embiid’s return.
“I’m really sort of a prisoner to the medical people’s information. I haven’t checked in. I just left the team and I’m unsure,” Sixers coach Brett Brown told reporters after Wednesday’s game. “I feel like when you don’t have Joel and you don’t have Ben, it’s an opportunity for others to put their hand[s] up and declare, ’This is who we are.’ And it is who we are, it’s who we have been.”
Al Horford: Sixers Don’t Know How to Play
When Joel Embiid went down on Wednesday against Cleveland, the Sixers seemingly lost their identity. They had no one to run the offense through and it showed.
Starting forward Al Horford could have put a positive spin on what happened after Embiid’s injury but instead, he told the truth. The Sixers didn’t know how to play without the big man.
“Obviously, we play through him and once he was out, we didn’t really know what was next,” said Horford, who finished with 10 points. “We didn’t quite know how to play. We have to figure out how to play without him.”
The Sixers host the New York Knicks tonight at the Wells Fargo Center without Embiid and starting point guard Ben Simmons in the lineup. New York isn’t good, a 17-win team. Then again, Cleveland only had 16 wins before beating Philadelphia.
Head coach Brett Brown mentioned the Sixers were lacking physicality, especially on the defensive end. Josh Richardson mentioned the Sixers had no “heart.” And Shake Milton, the second-year guard who scored 20 points versus Cleveland, said the team missed their rim protector.
“[Not] having such a big presence at the rim on defense to protect us whenever us guards make mistakes was kind of tough for us to deal with,” Milton told reporters, via NBC Sports Philadelphia. “We didn’t do a very good job of making the adjustments.”