76ers Joel Embiid Believes He Can Play Through Thumb Injury for Entire Playoffs

Erin WalshApril 23, 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 star Joel Embiid suffered a thumb injury during Game 3 of the team's first-round playoff series against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday. And while The Athletic and Stadium's Shams Charania reported there is fear he suffered a torn ligament in his thumb, the veteran plans to continue playing through the ailment. 

Speaking with reporters after a 110-102 Game 4 loss to the Raptors, Embiid said he plans to play through the injury throughout the duration of the postseason, according to ESPN's Tim Bontemps. If an MRI reveals he needs surgery, he'll undergo the procedure after the playoffs. 

Sixers head coach Doc Rivers also said after Saturday's loss that the team feels Embiid's thumb injury can't get any worse. 

"Yeah, there's concern," he said, according to Bontemps. "But, you know, it is what it is. The one thing we know [is] it can't get worse."

Embiid's thumb injury has yet to limit him this postseason. In Saturday's loss, he finished with 21 points, eight rebounds and three assists. He entered Game 4 having averaged 27.7 points, 13.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists through the first three games of the series.

If he were to experience some limitations, James Harden, Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris would be able to carry the load for Philadelphia.

Embiid has been one of the best players in the NBA this season and is an MVP candidate after averaging 30.6 points, 11.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists through 68 regular-season games. 

Philadelphia still owns a 3-1 series lead over Toronto and could close out the series with a Game 5 win on Monday at Wells Fargo Center. Winning the series Monday would benefit Embiid and allow him to get some extra rest ahead of the second round.

Seeing as how the Sixers have championship aspirations, Embiid could be waiting a while to potentially have surgery on his thumb. But if the team's playoff run ends with an NBA title, playing through the pain would have been well worth it.