The Philadelphia 76ers’ 127-101 win against the Wizards didn’t really matter on Friday night. Worry about Joel Embiid took over as the Sixers’ MVP candidate fell awkwardly in the third quarter and left the game with a left knee injury. Embiid then underwent an MRI after travelling back to Philly.
Thankfully, everyone can breath a major sigh of relief now, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that Embiid’s MRI revealed no structural damage and he has been diagnosed with a bone bruise — Wojnarowski noted in his full report that Embiid’s ACL and meniscus are fine.
Embiid's still expected to miss time with the bone bruise, sources said, but there's significant relief within Sixers that the injury isn't something much worse. https://t.co/ozcRTepMDe— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 13, 2021
The Athletic’s Shams Charania has reported even better news, adding that Embiid is only expected to miss two to three weeks.
We all know how important Embiid is to the Sixers. He’s been dominating at an MVP level this season, and now he’ll still be able to give Philly a chance to make a run in the playoffs. Individually, it’s great for Embiid that he’ll be able to continue his MVP push (even though his case will be knocked by missing more games) and play in front of Sixers fans when they return to Wells Fargo Center.
The Sixers will obviously miss Embiid a great deal and hanging onto the No. 1 seed will be far more difficult for now, but shifting their attention to just getting by for a few weeks without him is a relief nonetheless. There are a couple of positives they can focus on, too. Their bench has played well over their last two games, and Ben Simmons is expected to return on Sunday against the Spurs after being away from the team for a seven-day quarantine due to contact tracing. Simmons has made a leap this season and played the best basketball of his career over the five weeks leading up to the All-Star break. The Sixers will at least have a more aggressive, impactful Simmons to lead the way in Embiid’s absence — ideally with the bench continuing to up its game as well.
Fortunately for the Sixers they won’t face too many top opponents in their next handful of games apart from the Milwaukee Bucks on March 17. Over the next 10 days, they have games against the Spurs, Knicks (twice), Kings and Warriors. Their biggest tests that Embiid could miss will be at the end of the month, when they play the Lakers, Clippers, and Nuggets as their final three games to bring March to a close.