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Video: Doctor of Physical Therapy breaks down Embiid injury and surgery

Plus: two hand surgeons’ opinion on timetable for return.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

In case you haven’t heard, Joel Embiid is having surgery.

After dislocating his ring finger on his left hand against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Embiid received an MRI scan that revealed Joel tore the radial collateral ligament in the injured finger. Not too long after announcing the injury, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Embiid would undergo surgery to repair the ligament.

Naturally, these developments caused concern among Sixers fans. Not only will the Sixers be without their best player, Embiid has a history of complicated recoveries. However, there may be reason to be optimistic about Joel’s current situation.

Dr. Rajpal Brar is a Doctor of Physical Therapy who runs 3CB Performance, an L.A.-based performance therapy and injury recovery practice. Dr. Brar’s 3CB Performance YouTube channel provides clear, insightful, and concise breakdowns of injuries in a variety of professional sports.

Lucky for us, Dr. Brar made a video on Joel Embiid’s injury specifically. Not only does he explain the nature of the injury, Dr. Brar explains the surgery and the process of re-evaluating the injury, shares the opinion of two hand surgeons on Embiid’s timetable for return, and much more all in a 3-minute video. For those calling doom-and-gloom, the video just might give you some peace of mind.

Main takeaways:

  • RCL tears typically result in one end of the ligament being torn off the bone. Surgery reattaches the ligament back to the bone using a “bone anchor”.
  • When Joel is re-assessed in 1 to 2 weeks, the medical staff “will be assessing his finger and hand for pain or discomfort, stiffness, range of motion, and grip strength. Based on those indicators, Joel will either be cleared for higher intensity activity .... or continue with physio and be re-evaluated in another week or so.”
  • Dr. Brar consulted two hand surgeons on Embiid’s timeline for return, and both said to expect a “relatively quick” return because he can always “buddy tape” the weaker finger to his middle finger. One of the surgeons told Dr. Brar that he would expect Embiid back in a month max, if not sooner.
  • Biggest hurdle in recovery is the stiffness of the finger post-surgery.
  • Adding to the positive outlook is the fact that the injury is on Embiid’s off hand.

You can check out Dr. Raj’s YouTube channel here or follow him on Twitter @3cbPerformance.

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