The Philadelphia 76ers are struggling to get fully healthy at the moment. Joel Embiid dislocated his left ring finger in the Sixers’ last game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and powered through the pain to return and help his team secure a 120-113 win. However, after his availability initially just being in doubt for Thursday’s home game against the Boston Celtics, Embiid has now been listed as out due to his finger injury.
“It was pretty bad,” Embiid said after the Thunder game. “Was basically playing with one hand... In the midst of the streak, just wanted to make sure I do everything possible to get us a win.” Embiid added that he wasn’t even able to go up with both hands for rebounds.
Joel Embiid on his finger— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) January 7, 2020
Felt discomfort few plays earlier, “finger snapping.” Went to locker room, X-rays showed nothing
"It was pretty bad. Was basically playing with one hand... In the midst of the streak, just wanted to make sure I do everything possible to get us a win." pic.twitter.com/L41bdoh6fM
As various reports have confirmed, Embiid is currently seeing a specialist. There is no further information at the moment, so the exact damage to Embiid’s finger and an expected return date is unknown for the time being.
For now, Brett Brown has commented on at least preparing himself for the potential of an absence that could rule Embiid out past Thursday’s game.
Joel Embiid's left ring finger is being evaluated by a specialist today, Sixers said there will be more information later. But when he was asked about it, Brett Brown said he was at least preparing for a more extended absence than the Boston game. pic.twitter.com/OKVBwtVRba— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) January 8, 2020
The good news for the Sixers is that after missing the last seven games with a bone bruise and right knee sprain, Matisse Thybulle is expected to play against the Celtics.
Thybulle was playing really well over the few weeks before his injury. With more composed play at both ends of the floor, from less fouling and unwise defensive gambling to calmer decision-making on offense (not to mention 46.3 percent three-point shooting for the season), Thybulle had passed his struggles earlier in the year. The Sixers have clearly missed him on defense, too. In his absence, watching Furkan Korkmaz get targeted — whether it’s been Miami and Jimmy Butler or the Houston Rockets — is a reminder of how much Thybulle helps.
It will be good for Philly to have their rookie back with all the wing scorers the Celtics have at their disposal. There is a chance Boston won’t be at full strength either, as Kemba Walker has missed the last three games due to illness, and is still listed as questionable for their game on Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs.