Insiders Reveal Massive Update on Joel Embiid’s Meniscus Injury

Joel Embiid

Getty Joel Embiid of the 76ers

Joel Embiid hasn’t played a game for the Philadelphia 76ers since he went down with a left meniscus injury on January 30. Since then, the 76ers have gone 11-19 and currently sit in eighth place in the Eastern Conference. They could be getting a huge boost soon though, as multiple insiders reported Embiid could be back as soon as April 2.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report the news, tweeting that “Embiid is nearing a return and expected to play this week.”

Wojnarowski’s article that followed his tweet, added that Embiid has been “ramping up his conditioning in recent days to rejoin the Eastern Conference playoff chase.”

Just one minute later, The Athletic’s Shams Charania tweeted that “Embiid is nearing comeback as soon as Tuesday’s home game vs. OKC Thunder” before adding that “The reigning NBA MVP has positively completed multiple five-on-five scrimmage sessions in recent days.”

The reports come just days after head coach Nick Nurse stated “I think there’s a very good likelihood that he will [Embiid] return before the play-in, playoffs.”
On February 6, Embiid had what was being called a “left meniscus procedure” on his injured knee.

Embiid to Continue Incredible Season

While Embiid will not qualify for MVP or any other award this season, considering he won’t reach the league’s 65-game minimum to qualify, he will have a chance to play a few more games in what had been a remarkable season prior to his injury.

Embiid, prior to injuring his knee, was averaging 36.1 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game. The only other player to ever average 35 or more points, 10 or more rebounds, and 5 or more assists in a season was Wilt Chamberlain in 1963-64.

He was leading the entire NBA with an EPM of +10.6 before going down. The +10.6 mark becomes even more impressive when you look through historic EPM rankings as well. The composite metric goes back to the 2013-14 season, no player had ever had an EPM higher than +10.5, that is until Embiid this year.

EPM by season

@AOP_NBAEPM by season

It was not just on the offensive end that Embiid’s dominance was being felt. He was averaging 1.1 steals and 1.8 blocks per game, as well as having a defensive estimated +/- of +3.4, which is currently tied for fifth in the NBA.

Playoff Outlook

As mentioned above, the 76ers currently sit in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, which means they would be in the play-in tournament if the season ended today. However, they are just two games behind the Indiana Pacers for the sixth seed, which would mean they would avoid the play-in.

The 76ers have seven games remaining in the regular season, including games against the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic, both of whom are above them in the standings.

According to tankathon, the 76ers have the second-easiest schedule in the entire league over this last stretch of games. If they are able to avoid the play-in, Embiid will likely be a huge reason why.

Getting Embiid back should also remove some pressure from guard Tyrese Maxey, who is averaging 23.5 points per game over his last 15 games, which is below his season average of 25.6 points per game.

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