Sixers Dominate Knicks, Medical Update on Joel Embiid

The Sixers got a much-needed win over the Knicks. Great news. Even better, they got a positive medical update.

Joel Embiid has no structural damage in his injured left shoulder after spraining it in a scary scene on Wednesday night against Cleveland. The All-Star center missed Thursday night’s game — a resounding 115-106 win over the lowly 17-win Knicks — but he’s only expected to miss a week as he recovers.

That is a good sign for a team desperate to rack up some road wins. The Sixers embark on an aggressive four-game West Coast swing starting Sunday that includes contests versus the Clippers, Lakers, Kings and Warriors. Philadelphia has lost seven straight games away from South Philadelphia.

Embiid, who collided with Cavaliers center Ante Zizic on Wednesday, was thought to possibly have ligament damage. He doesn’t.

The official statement from the Sixers read: “Evaluation and testing confirmed a left shoulder sprain and that there was no significant structural damage. His progress will be symptom-based and he is currently expected to be re-evaluated in approximately one week.”

Head coach Brett Brown was ecstatic about the news following the Sixers’ win over New York. The Sixers still don’t know for certain how long star point guard Ben Simmons will be out, although initial timetables have it at two weeks.

“The fact that there is no structural damage, we all hear loudly,” Brown told reporters, via Tom Moore. “It’s as much from a personal standpoint as it is a selfish coach that he’s looking forward to this run home. The responsibility, no Ben for how long we’ll all figure out in time, and to learn that from his perspective and from the team’s perspective, that is exciting news.”

Tobias Harris Shines, Sixers Beat Knicks

What a difference a day makes, huh? Tobias Harris was getting crushed, even vilified, by Sixers fans for turning in a dismal performance on Wednesday versus Cleveland. He finished with just 11 points and four rebounds.

On Thursday night, the 27-year-old had 23 points at halftime en route to 34 points and seven rebounds. He was downright dominant.

Harris had been getting a ton of grief for not living up to the max contract hype— five years at $180 million — that he signed last June. With both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons injured and out of the starting lineup, the Sixers needed Harris to be their go-to guy and he finally delivered.

Philadelphia is going to need these types of performances to become the new normal to stay afloat in the Eastern Conference standings.

“The only noise that carries weight for me is the noise in our locker room, and with the guys on our team and our coaching staff,” Harris told reporters about the pressures of playing on a max contract. “I truly believe, and you can ask every single one of them in the locker room, the value that I bring to this team on and off the floor and they will vouch for that, and that’s the credibility I go with.”

Head coach Brett Brown praised Harris, as well as the contributions of Al Horford. The Sixers power forward finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and nine assists after struggling against Cleveland.

“Those two were excellent tonight and we needed it all,” Brown told reporters. “It was a great sign and it doesn’t surprise me.”

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