Joel Embiid made his return to the Sixers’ lineup Wednesday vs. the Warriors and it was a complete disaster.
Now, the reigning MVP will have to undergo an MRI on his left knee after an awkward collision with Golden State’s Jonathan Kuminga late in the fourth quarter of a 119-107 loss. The Sixers moved to 0-4 on what has been a road trip from hell.
Nick Nurse says that the injury that forced Embiid to leave the game in the fourth quarter was unrelated to the injury that has held him out recently. Embiid will get an MRI.— Kendra Andrews (@kendra__andrews) January 31, 2024
Embiid has been dealing with swelling in his left knee for several weeks. The issue caused him to miss three games. He’d look great after coming back in a Jan. 15 win over the Houston Rockets. He then starred in wins over the Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic and Charlotte Hornets before dropping a franchise record 70 points on the San Antonio Spurs last Monday.
A couple days later, the Sixers traveled to Indiana to take on the Pacers. Embiid never looked like himself in that game and at one point banged knees with Indiana’s Myles Turner (though it was his right knee). After not being listed on the injury report ahead of a marquee matchup with Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets last Saturday, Embiid was a late scratch after attempting to warm up ahead of the game. He was ruled out of the Sixers’ loss in Portland Monday.
That brings us to Tuesday night, where Embiid made his return to the lineup after being listed as questionable throughout the day. Embiid looked even less like himself in San Francisco. He totally lacked mobility and was ineffective all night, going 5-of-18 from the floor for 14 points.
To put it bluntly, it was surprising Embiid was allowed to play at all considering how he looked. The fact that Nick Nurse opted to put Embiid back in the game in the fourth quarter is totally befuddling. With 4:08 left in the game and the Sixers trailing by 12, Embiid committed his eighth turnover of the night. As he went to the floor to attempt to grab the loose ball, Kuminga landed directly on Embiid’s balky left knee.
Joel Embiid is down and holding his knee pic.twitter.com/Aigap7Ch4l— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) January 31, 2024
The Sixers are in trouble. Who knows how long Embiid will be out and the team has been ravaged by injuries. The red-hot New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers have passed them in the standings. The trade deadline is looming and Daryl Morey is in a difficult spot with assets to use but a murky outlook for his superstar center.
What a disastrous night for the Sixers.