On Monday night, the Philadelphia 76ers suffered their first loss of the 2021 NBA Playoffs, falling to the Washington Wizards 122-114 in the District of Columbia. However, the Philly faithful were likely more concerned about another loss that occurred during the contest.
Sixers star Joel Embiid exited the contest early in the first period after taking a particularly hard fall. The MVP finalist had attempted a straight-line drive past Washington big man Robin Lopez for a layup, only to have the shot blocked. He subsequently lost his footing and landed awkwardly on the baseline.
Embiid was clearly in pain in the immediate aftermath of the play and would not return for the remainder of the contest after leaving the court.
After the game, it was revealed that he was suffering from right knee soreness and that he would undergo an MRI on Tuesday.
As of this writing, there has been no word on whether or not imaging has been done. However, multiple reports coming out on the morning after the game could give Sixers fans hope that their team’s top dog isn’t going to be out for long.
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Reports: Sixers Optimistic About Embiid
NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark tweeted on Tuesday that there was optimism within the Sixers organization that Embiid wasn’t seriously injured.
“I’m told the belief last night was that Joel Embiid would be OK,” he wrote. “They were going to do imaging this morning to make sure. Hopefully everything goes well.”
Hoops scribe Brett Siegel offered a similar account of the situation. However, he also reported that the team was “going to be cautious” in its handling of Embiid. Given the four-time All-Star’s injury history and immeasurable importance to the Sixers’ title hopes, that’s probably the proper course of action.
Embiid had been a force to be reckoned with throughout the Wizards series before his Game 4 exit. Over the first three games of the series, he averaged 29.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in just 28.0 minutes per contest. He also connected on 67.4% of his shots overall, 54.5% of his three-point attempts and boasted a team-best net rating of 39.6.
Over the final three quarters of Game 4 (sans Embiid), Philly was outscored 94-83.
Wizards Suffered a Loss of Their Own
While Embiid’s status for Game 5 and beyond is currently uncertain, one of Washington’s key cogs has already been ruled out for a significant amount of time, according to a report.
Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Wizards big man Davis Bertans has suffered a Grade 2 calf strain. He’ll reportedly be out for the next four to six weeks.
An MRI done on Tuesday revealed the extent of the injury, per Woj’s sources.
Bertans is no stranger to such injuries. In March/April, the “Latvian Laser” missed seven games with a calf strain. His absence was felt by the Wizards then and it will certainly be felt again now.
Bertans played incredibly well in Game 4, scoring 15 points in just 23 minutes of play and hitting on three of his six three-point attempts.
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