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‘I’m not healthy’ — Joel Embiid’s All-Star Game status unclear as he deals with foot injury

The Sixers narrowly secured a huge win before the break, but Joel Embiid isn’t sure if he’ll play in the All-Star Game due to lingering foot troubles.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The Sixers stormed out of the gate when they hosted the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night. It was the final game before the much needed All-Star break. Philadelphia got crushed by the Cavs earlier in the year, 113-85. So here they looked like they wanted some payback. At one point they led by 28 points, only to allow Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland and co. to storm back.

In the game’s final moments, however, the Sixers did what they had to do, winning 118-112. But afterwards, Joel Embiid, who has been on the injury report for some time now, and routinely a game-time decision, admitted to not being quite right.

It sounds like his foot issue is still hindering him. And it may lead to him making his All-Star starter spot available, the one he took over for the injured Kevin Durant.

“I’m not sure,” Embiid admitted to reporters when asked about appearing in the All-Star Game. “I’m not healthy. I haven’t been healthy for the past three weeks or month. I was just trying to get to the All-Star break without missing games and stuff. But I feel like I’ve reached the point where I really need to follow the doctor’s advice and miss, back then he said I should have been sitting for two weeks...we’ll see how the next few days go, and go from there.”

It was revealed that Embiid was laid up for a long stretch of his offseason last summer with plantar fasciitis. That slowed him down at the beginning of this year. And in November he would suffer a mid-foot sprain after colliding with teammate Georges Niang.

He’d miss some time with that and appeared to suffer a similar injury on Jan. 4.

And over the last three weeks or month, we’ve certainly seen Embiid favoring it at times. He described it as similar to the “one that I had earlier in the year.” And he’d say things like I “just tweaked my foot again, it’s fine,” when asked about it following a win over the Thunder.

But it didn’t stop him from dominating. He was shooting one-legged game winners off of that nagging foot on his way to Player of the Month in January.

And the superstar dramatically shortened his MVP odds by dropping 47 on the Nuggets, despite the issue.

“I haven’t been healthy,” Embiid continued after his 29-point, 14-rebound game vs. the Cavs. “I’ve been having this lingering foot issue, according to the doctors, which needs a lot of rest and staying off of my feet. Like I said, the focus is on winning, especially getting ready for the second half of the season and the playoffs. I’m focused on winning a championship and whatever helps me get there healthy, then that’s what I’m going to do. I’m just going to see how it goes. Obviously, just what the doctors said, I got to follow whatever they say, just need rest and stay off of my feet.”

There are 25 games remaining and the Sixers need to stack wins. There is also the MVP trophy still on the line. Per Oddschecker, Joel is second only to Nikola Jokic (at +390) for that.

If he were to miss time the team could drop in the standings and he could miss out on another MVP, having finished as runner-up the last two seasons. After his dazzling 47-point game vs. the Nuggets he said he didn’t want any freak injuries. But if he keeps playing on this one, it wouldn’t fit that category.

But based on what he said Wednesday night, he’s going to listen to his body and the doctors and give this nagging issue some rest. If he needed two weeks off a month ago and pushed through, then he could definitely use at least one week off now, if not more.

Let’s hope if he does sit out the All-Star Game that the week off does his aches and pains some good. He’s been a monster this season. But you could definitely tell recently that he’s been dealing with some pain.

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