Joel Embiid injury update: 76ers star diagnosed with meniscus injury, return timetable unknown

Joel Embiid has suffered an injury to the lateral meniscus in his left knee, the Philadelphia 76ers announced on Thursday and CBS Sports’ Bill Reiter confirmed. Embiid will be out through the weekend while a treatment plan is finalized. 

The Philadelphia 76ers star had been ruled out for his team’s matchup on Thursday against the Utah Jazz after suffering the injury against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday. 

The reigning league MVP is amid the best season of his career but has continued to deal with health issues. He’s missed 12 out of Philadelphia’s 46 games thus far this season, including a marquee matchup against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday with the left knee injury.

The 76ers held him out of their Monday game against the Portland Trail Blazers, but ultimately felt he was ready to go on Tuesday when they battled the Warriors. It was a shaky night on the court for Embiid as he shot just 5-of-18 from the floor, and then things went from bad to worse in the fourth quarter when he got tangled up with Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga and suffered another apparent injury as Kuminga fell on his leg. He left the game from there and did not return. 

Here’s a look at the play where Embiid got hurt:

While individual awards are a lesser concern for the 76ers, it is also worth noting here that basically any meaningful absence will knock Embiid out of the running to win his second consecutive MVP award. The league instituted a new rule this season stating that major award winners must play at least 65 games. Having already missed 13 (counting Thursday’s game), Embiid is dangerously close to being ruled ineligible, and will continue to miss games so long as he’s sidelined.

Philadelphia has six games in the next 11 days, so even a two-week absence knocks Embiid out of the race for good. 

Tuesday also marked the first time since Nov. 15 against Boston that Embiid didn’t score at least 30 points in a game. It ended a streak of 22 consecutive 30-point games for Embiid, and only Wilt Chamberlain and James Harden have had longer streaks in NBA history. 

Philadelphia has even less time to determine its strategy leading up the trade deadline, which is only eight days away on Thursday, Feb. 8. The 76ers have been weighing the risks and benefits of an all-in push for this championship knowing that such an approach could cost them their max cap space this offseason. Any serious Embiid injury would change that calculus.

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