Sixers’ Joel Embiid Breaks Silence on Surprise Diagnosis Amid Speculation

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

Getty Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Philadelphia 76ers got a 50-point effort from Joel Embiid in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series against the New York Knicks.

Embiid, who also had eight rebounds and four assists, was battling more than the Knicks.

“ESPN Sources: Sixers star Joel Embiid has been treated for a mild case of Bell’s palsy for the past week,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on X on April 25. “The condition began during the play-in victory over Miami but he has wanted to keep it private to avoid distractions for his team.

“There had been some speculation about why he had been wearing sunglasses and whether there was an issue with his eyes, but that was related to the Bell’s palsy — which impacts facial muscles in one-half of face.”

Embiid opened up about the ailment and how it has impacted him following his monster performance.

“I don’t know exactly what happened. But, obviously, I guess that’s a normal thing. I think it started a day or two before the Miami game, and I had you know bad migraines and thought it was nothing,” Embiid told reporters on April 25. “Usually I don’t like to check it out, but for some reason I ended up having to tell somebody and, yeah.”

Embiid pointed to his 23-point, 15-rebound, five-assist effort in the Play-In Tournament against the Miami Heat, noting he was “not feeling it.”

“I’m sure if you Google the symptoms, you know what it is,” Embiid said. “It’s pretty annoying with my left side of my face, my mouth, and, yeah, and my eye. So, yeah, it’s been tough. But I’m not a not a quitter. So got to keep fighting, do anything.

“It’s unfortunate. That’s the way I look at it. But that’s not an excuse got to keep pushing.”

The ailment has not affected Embiid’s performance too badly, as his final line in Game 3 of this series showed. It is another concern in addition to his balky knee he’s battled late in the season.

Joel Embiid Details Bell’s Palsy Battle After Sixers’ Win

Johns Hopkins Medicine explains the sudden onset nature of the disease as well as some of the symptoms Embiid described and could face.

Bell’s palsy is an unexplained episode of facial muscle weakness or paralysis. It begins suddenly and worsens over 48 hours. This condition results from damage to the facial nerve (the 7th cranial nerve). Pain and discomfort usually occur on one side of the face or head.

Bell’s palsy is not considered permanent, but in rare cases, it does not disappear. Currently, there is no known cure for Bell’s palsy; however, recovery usually begins 2 weeks to 6 months from the onset of the symptoms. Most people with Bell’s palsy recover full facial strength and expression.

The site goes on to note that the exact cause of the disease is unknown.

It does note that it “occurs most often” in diabetics, people who suffer from upper respiratory ailments, and pregnant women. It is also most common between the ages of 15 and 60.

Sixers Avoid Perilous History With Game 3 Victory

The Sixers did themselves a big favor with their win in Game 3. Their 0-2 deficit coming into the game already came with a 7.3% win rate. Had they fallen to 0-3, they would have been up against a 0-151 streak for teams in that situation.

Their win – and subsequent 2-1 deficit – puts them in a group that has a 20.1% win rate. That is still far from ideal.

But it is far greater than the alternative.