Injuries have not been kind to the Philadelphia 76ers to start the season. James Harden suffered a right foot tendon sprain and is amid a multi-week absence. Tyrese Maxey also sustained a small fracture in his foot during the Sixers’ recent victory over the Bucks and is set to miss the next few weeks. Tobias Harris, Furkan Korkamz, and P.J. Tucker are each also battling some knocks and have been in and out of the lineup. To put the icing on the cake, Joel Embiid has been ruled out for the next two games with a left foot mid-sprain after being rolled up on by Georges Niang during the recent loss to the Timberwolves.
The full severity of the injury is not yet known. The Sixers have announced that Embiid will be reevaluated in the coming days but he will miss at the minimum the next two.
Sixers Outlook vs Nets
The allure of the matchup against the Brooklyn Nets has taken a huge hit due to the number of injuries piling up. Ben Simmons’ return to play in Philadelphia does not look as exciting considering the depleted Sixers roster he will face. With Embiid, Maxey, and Harden out, the Sixers will be without the 77.2 points per game they can typically account for.
What was once circled as one of the most exciting matchups of the year now looks to be a clear path for the Nets to get back to .500 on the season and improve their record to 9-9. The return of Kyrie Irving, the improved play of Simmons, and the typical dominance of Durant will likely be too much for the shorthanded Sixers to handle. While stranger things have happened, the simple lack of bodies will have a drastic impact on Philadelphia’s chances to win.
This also puts the Sixers in a difficult position as they did not start the season the way they hoped. Currently holding an 8-8 record and sitting at 8th place in the Eastern Conference is not where the Sixers hoped to be now roughly 20% through the year. Without their top players available there is a high chance they slip further in the standings and will have to play with their backs against the wall to close out the season.
Embiid’s Outlook Moving Forward
It has been a frustrating start to the season for the reigning MVP runner-up. He did not come into the season in optimal shape after battling two hand surgeries and plantar fasciitis this offseason. Embiid has also complained of shoulder pain and missed four of the Sixers’ 16 games due to an illness.
While there is not an official timeline established for how long Embiid will be kept off the court, it appears a good sign he has only been ruled out for the next two matchups. It was scary to see him in the amount of pain he was in following the injury and it had the potential to be far worse based on the play. It is difficult to put a timeline on the injury until the Sixers give more information as mid-foot sprains have a wide variance in their recovery times. The consensus seems to be four to six weeks of recovery however there have been extreme examples of it ending players’ seasons as well as quicker recoveries.
The most important thing is to ensure Embiid gets fully healthy. Philadelphia will not reach their ceiling as a team without the 7-footer’s two-way impact. The Sixers must focus on staying afloat while its stars recover. This is a valuable chance for members of the bench to show what they are capable of and earn a place in the rotation moving forward. This will especially be the case for players like Furkan Korkmaz, Montrezl Harrell, Paul Reed, and more. The Sixers will need their production to succeed, but there are still 66 games remaining and time for the team to get healthy and find its stride.