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Joel Embiid Rumors: 76ers Star Unlikely to Require Surgery on Orbital Injury

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVApril 30, 2022

Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Joel Embiid does not have a timetable for his return, but he is not expected to require surgery on a fractured orbital bone in his left eye.

John Clark of NBC Sports Philly reported the Sixers have "some hope" Embiid could return at some point in their second-round series against the Miami Heat. Embiid suffered a fractured orbital bone and a concussion in the fourth quarter of the Sixers' Game 6 win over the Toronto Raptors after being elbowed by Pascal Siakam.

The concussion will keep Embiid out through at least the first two games of the series. He will have to complete the NBA's concussion protocol to get cleared, which includes an evaluation by a physician and passing exertion testing.

It seems unlikely that Embiid will be able to return in the first half of the series; a stronger bet would be him making a return if the Sixers are able to stretch the series to five or six games. Game 6 would be two full weeks after Embiid suffered the initial injury.

The Sixers are heavy underdogs to the Heat without Embiid, who will finish in the top two in MVP voting for the second straight season. Embiid averaged 26.2 points and 11.3 rebounds during Philly's first-round win over the Raptors, dominating despite a constant barrage of double teams.

James Harden's offensive role will take a massive uptick in responsibility with Embiid out; it's just unclear if Harden can handle the load anymore. The 2018 MVP has struggled with his burst all season and averaged just 19.0 points on 40.5 percent shooting during Round 1.

The Sixers will need MVP-caliber play from Harden if they hope to make this a series. 

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