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Shelburne: Embiid is dealing with ‘pain and discomfort’ in thumb; expected to play, team considering MRI

Darn it sounds like the hand that Joel Embiid used to drill a game winning triple over the Toronto Raptors in Game 3 is banged up

Philadelphia 76ers v Toronto Raptors - Game Three Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images

Well this isn’t great. As Sixer fans were basking in the glory of Joel Embiid’s game winning triple, and quietly enjoying that Philadelphia has mostly avoided injury, as other stars around the league have gone down, we got a troubling report Friday afternoon.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN tweeted that the MVP candidate is “experiencing pain and discomfort in his right thumb.” Shelburne adds that he expects to play in Game 4. The Sixers are up three games to none over the Toronto Raptors. No team has ever come back from that large of a hole.

But the issue is worrisome enough, apparently, that the team is considering giving him an MRI.

We noticed Embiid wincing, and the big fella appeared to be in quite a bit of pain following this rim-rocking jam in the third quarter of Game 3:

You can see he already had a wrap on the area, an indication there was some discomfort before he showed signs of pain.

Embiid said his wrist got “twisted” at some point, per The PhillyVoice’s Kyle Neubeck:

Earlier in the day Friday, Neubeck posted a photo of this wrap on Embiid’s shooting hand, and noted Joel brushed off the idea he may not be ready to go for what could be the last game of the series:

The reason the Sixers would opt for the MRI would be to rule out ligament damage. If he’s expecting to play that’s the good news. But if it swelled up at all since he ripped the heart out of ScotiaBank Arena, or if it takes more contact during what could be another very violent matchup, it’ll certainly be something to monitor. If the Kansas product had to play with a brace or wrap on his shooting hand, it would certainly be less than ideal. Although that didn’t slow him down in the second half on Wednesday.

We’ll keep our eye on this one. Game 4 is Saturday afternoon. Getting a win and perhaps an extra day or rest or two between rounds 1 and 2 could be huge.

*Editor’s note: Shams Charania of The Athletic has dialed up the concern radar with this update:

If an MRI does reveal a torn ligament we’ll have to revisit the idea of him missing time.