After the Sixers’ last game before the All-Star Break, Joel Embiid dropped a bit of a bombshell on us. “I’m not healthy,” the superstar big man told reporters in attendance after his 29 point, 14 rebounds, 5 dimes, 2 steals and a block game in a huge win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Embiid admitted that he’d been dealing with a nagging foot injury for roughly three weeks to a month, likely following this crash landing in a game vs. the Pelicans:
Embiid Wanted that track down block and appeared to hurt his left foot pic.twitter.com/LhwRxXYaoq— DaveEarly (@DavidEarly) January 5, 2023
“I haven’t been healthy,” Embiid said last week. “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....Obviously, just what the doctors said, I got to follow whatever they say, just need rest and stay off of my feet.”
So when we heard that, many of us started to think and hope that he would just skip the festivities to take advantage of a full week off, before a grueling slate of games vs. the Grizzlies, Celtics, Heat, Mavericks and Bucks.
Joel Embiid has been playing through a foot injury for roughly a month.— Liberty Ballers (@Liberty_Ballers) February 17, 2023
He should use the All-Star break to heal, not play in a meaningless exhibition. https://t.co/KqVMGZIFVF
Some of us still remember when he played in the All-Star Game back in 2019, before being ruled out for the following week with knee soreness.
Former head coach Brett Brown did his best to convince fans Joel’s injury had nothing to do with playing in that exhibition. But the issue would ultimately cause him to miss the next eight games and hamper Joel for the rest of the season and post season, so it couldn’t have helped.
And after his 2021 partially torn meniscus, then last year’s torn thumb and broken orbital bone, there is nothing Sixers fans dread more than another post season run where Embiid is limited by any type of injury.
“I keep getting disrespected and it’s cool. I’m just gonna try and keep helping my teammates… in the playoffs all I ask is no freak injuries and I think I’m due for a big run.”— DaveEarly (@DavidEarly) January 28, 2023
Embiid was asked if he thinks he should be a starting All Star. pic.twitter.com/UBCk6GCLrg
With all that in mind, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, provided the latest intel on Saturday afternoon.
“Joel Embiid missed Saturday’s Eastern Conference All-Star practices and the following media availability.The 76ers’ six-time All-Star, however, is expected to be on hand for Sunday night’s NBA All-Star Game at the Vivint Arena. All this comes after Embiid reiterated on Wednesday that he’s unsure if he’ll play in the game.A Sixers source believes that Embiid intends to play in the All-Star Game. But on Wednesday, the 7-foot-2, 280-pounder didn’t give the impression that he would definitely play.”
If this is indeed the case, and he suits up, we just have to trust his and the team’s judgment that it’s not a big risk and that a full week of rest at home would not ultimately serve him better.
Embiid recently admitted that “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 [time], back [early January] he said I should have been sitting for two weeks...we’ll see how the next few days go, and go from there.”
So he finally made it to the break and could take advantage by finally heeding the doctor’s advice. Embiid has been listed as questionable with foot soreness for a sizable stretch now. He’s often a game time decision, and during games you can see him wincing on occasion:
After the play was dead, Embiid gives the rim a little extra and comes down very hard on the sore left foot thats cost him games this season. pic.twitter.com/AKMyNoqeCw— DaveEarly (@DavidEarly) January 26, 2023
If he does give it a go (game time decision for an All-Star game would be a twist) maybe he can just go out there and shoot a three and then sit back down. But based on the latest report, it sounds like we will see Mr. Third in the latest MVP Straw Poll start in the All Star Game Sunday.