Joel Embiid opted to bypass season-ending surgery for a “small tear” in his right meniscus on June 2. He battled through that sore knee for seven games during the Eastern Conference semifinals. The All-Star center averaged 30.4 points and 12.7 rebounds in 37.3 minutes per game.
No one could ever question Embiid’s dedication or toughness after witnessing that. Now the conversation turns to what lies ahead for the injured big man. Will he decide to undergo offseason knee surgery? Or let the ligament heal on its own?
The first step toward a decision happened on Tuesday when Embiid met with team doctors to assess the damage, according to Sixers president Daryl Morey. Embiid will use seek the advice of his own stable of personal advisers, too.
“I know they are going through a full assessment of him right now, the medical staff along with Joel as well and his very good team of advisers,” Morey said. “And the next step will be determined from that.”
Sometimes the organization will put pressure on the player to get surgery, but Morey didn’t sound like that would be the case. He trusts Embiid to do what’s best for his body.
“Look, Joel is one of the smartest players I’ve ever worked with,” Morey said. “And he likes to take lots of input from pretty much every top doctor in the country and take all that input and the best decision will be made at that point.”
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NBA Favors Perimeter Players Over Big Men
Rome wasn’t built in a day and it’s going to take even longer for the NBA to address the discrimination at the center position. Perimeter players have become the flashy poster boys for the league as evidenced by the ticky-tack fouls that (Academy Award winner) Trae Young drew every night in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
It looks like the process for fixing that has begun. According to Shams Charania, there will be a vote to implement “new rules to limit non-basketball moves that would result in an offensive foul or no-call beginning next season.”
These discussions are going on right now at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. Morey addressed the need to find some common ground for centers to thrive. It’s just too skewed against them compared to their vertically challenged counterparts.
“The league is challenging right now for bigs,” Morey said. “I do expect the league to address this. How quickly they do, we don’t know. But I do know there is quite a bit of discussion, even in Chicago right now at the pre-draft camp, about how the game has completely tilted toward perimeter players and what is allowed contact-wise and what is called a foul on the perimeter versus in the paint.”
Embiid Sends Heartfelt Message to Sixers Fans
Despite playing on a torn meniscus and grabbing at his injured right knee throughout the playoffs, Embiid felt a need to apologize to Sixers fans on social media. The 7-footer recklessly threw his massive body around like nothing was wrong for seven games, oftentimes wincing in pain. He did it because he wanted to win a championship.
“I’m a winner. I want to win. I do everything it takes to win,” Embiid said after Game 7. “Losing obviously is going to take a toll on me and it does and it’s doing it but it’s also on me. I got to be better. I got to take another step when it comes to taking care of my body, improving my game as a whole because I still feel like I have a lot of potential that people really haven’t seen.”
Embiid hasn’t made a final decision on whether to get offseason surgery, although he admitted it was painful playing on a torn meniscus.
“We lost now I can take care of my body,” Embiid said. “That’s something that I thought hard about playing on it but ultimately I decided to do it but that was my choice and got to live with the results. But at the end of the day, when it comes to my future, I’ll be fine.”