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Report: Joel Embiid Will Delay Surgery on Thumb Injury Until End of 76ers' Season

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIApril 24, 2022

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 23: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers warms up ahead of Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on April 23, 2022 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
Cole Burston/Getty Images

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid will wait until the offseason to undergo surgery to repair the torn ligament in his thumb, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Embiid played through the injury in Saturday's 110-102 loss to the Toronto Raptors, finishing with 21 points and eight rebounds. Philadelphia still holds a 3-1 lead in the first-round series. 

The NBA MVP finalist averaged a league-high 30.6 points, 11.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.5 blocks per game during the regular season. He was particularly dominant down the stretch with 36.5 points per game in his final eight regular-season contests.

Thanks largely to his efforts, the 76ers finished with the joint-second-best in the Eastern Conference with a 51-31 record.

It was a great accomplishment considering that the team played without three-time All-Star Ben Simmons for more than half of the year before he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets. That deal netted James Harden, but the 2017-18 NBA MVP struggled shooting in the final 17 games (36.3 percent from the field).

Embiid's dominance propelled Philadelphia to the upper tier of the Eastern Conference and positioned the 76ers for a deep playoff run.

Unfortunately, Embiid suffered a right thumb injury in Game 3 of the 76ers' first-round playoff series against the Raptors. News in the days afterward regarding the injury was not good, although he did end up playing Game 4.

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

There is fear that Philadelphia 76ers All-NBA star Joel Embiid has a torn ligament in his right thumb, but Embiid has vowed to continue playing through the injury, sources tell <a href="https://twitter.com/TheAthletic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheAthletic</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/Stadium?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Stadium</a>. Embiid will rely on his pain tolerance and 76ersโ€˜ medical staff.

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

As Doc Rivers alluded, sources tell <a href="https://twitter.com/ramonashelburne?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ramonashelburne</a> and me that the initial exam suggested ligament damage to Joel Embiid's right thumb, but an MRI is still needed to learn the extent of the injury. <a href="https://t.co/d2tMGKdQrU">https://t.co/d2tMGKdQrU</a>

It's now clear the injury will require surgery, but Embiid won't keep himself off the court.

With Embiid limited, the 76ers' remaining options down low include Paul Reed, who has substituted in for the big man in the series with the Raptors. Reed, a second-year pro, had 3.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 7.9 minutes per game in the regular season.

He starred in the final game of the year, though, dropping 25 points and four steals in 21 minutes versus the Detroit Pistons.

The 76ers can also turn to veteran big man DeAndre Jordan for some time at the 5.