Joel Embiid Injury: Updates on 76ers C's Recovery from Foot Surgery

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured Columnist

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Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid missed his entire rookie season after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot, and his regular-season debut will be put on hold for another full year.

He underwent a second foot surgery on Aug. 18 to correct another setback that could be career-threatening.

Continue for updates.

76ers CEO Comments on Embiid's Rehab

Monday, Nov. 2

"Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil said Friday on Comcast SportsNet's Philly Sports Talk that Joel Embiid’s rehab is going 'terrific,' but he knows that fans need more than just words from the organization after last season’s ups and downs, noted CSNPhilly.com.

O'Neill added: “Our doctors are saying it’s going ahead of schedule, but at the end of the day we know we have to show you and not just tell you. I will tell you that he is an elite talent, and I think he will be an elite player in this league.”

76ers Reportedly Concerned with Embiid

Friday, Oct. 16

"Embiid’s lax approach to his rehab and the circumstances surrounding the second foot surgery he needed this past summer — which appears like it will cost him the entire 2015–16 season — has caused the organization much anxiety," reported Brian Geltzeiler of SI.com. He added:

The simple task of getting Embiid to consistently wear his walking boot was a challenge for the franchise, and multiple sources suggested that some people in Philadelphia’s front office wonder whether a second surgery would have been necessary if Embiid had worn the boot as much as he was told to.

Geltzeiler also reported 76ers brass were against Embiid going to Las Vegas during the summer. General manager Sam Hinkie and head coach Brett Brown were allegedly told to prevent Embiid from heading to Nevada. 

However, according to Geltzeiler, "each of them put the onus on the other to handle the job, and neither did," while Embiid "was determined to go to Vegas to party for the balance of the 10 days of summer league." Geltzeiler also reported suspicions that Embiid actually re-broke his foot due to his refusal to wear a protective boot while in Vegas.

Embiid's diet also raised red flags, according to Geltzeiler:

This type of disregard for instruction also extends to Embiid’s dietary habits. Per a source, the Sixers’ training staff was so concerned about what he was eating, they stocked the refrigerator in his downtown hotel residence each week with healthy food. When a staffer went to restock the fridge each week, most everything was uneaten and unopened, and they were throwing out the fruits and vegetables every week. When the team subsequently asked to see Embiid’s room service bill, they found that most days he was ordering junk food along with his signature beverage, a pitcher of Shirley Temples. Embiid also was frequently seen feasting on chicken fingers and hot dogs at and after games. 

Hinkie Comments on Embiid's Recovery; Team Issues Statement on Surgery

Wednesday, Sept. 30

Hinkle said Embiid will be in his cast for a few more weeks. Hinkie also noted that Embiid can't do anything weight bearing or anything that involves range of motion, per Tom Moore of Calkins Media.

"We would be silly not take a fresh approach with [Joel's] recovery," Hinkie said following Embiid's surgery, via Dei Lynam of CSN Philly on Aug. 19.

Hinkie also talked about the progress Embiid was making prior to the latest setback, saying: "He was on doctor orders. He did not have to be in a boot. Jo was playing a lot of basketball ten days prior to CT scan," via Lynam. on Aug. 19

"I am optimistic Joel will have a long productive career," Hinkie said when asked about the big man's future after his surgery, via Lynam on Aug. 19. "Fantastic team of surgeons. They did their part, now we have to do ours."

Hinkie's comments came a day after the 76ers issued a statement on Embiid's surgery, per the team's director of public relations Michael Preston:

Michael Preston @preston76

The #Sixers issued the following statements from Dr. Martin O'Malley and Dr. David T. Martin regarding Joel Embiid. http://t.co/i0LBF3C7V9

Brown Comments on Embiid

Monday, Sept. 14

"It remains a worry to all of us—how can it not be?" said 76ers head coach Brett Brown of Embiid's lingering injury, per Ian Thomsen of NBA.com, who continued:

But it doesn't bump me off path to say anything else other than that I believe in the path that we have all put ourselves on. Everybody has their role in all of this—whether it's a GM or ownership group or a head coach—and I'm proud to say that we are very unified. And I'm also grateful to say that the city of Philadelphia, from the fans to the media, have treated us fairly. I know that we feel a responsibility, especially in a city like this—this is an unforgiving sporting city, and we feel a huge responsibility to deliver.

Embiid Posts Post-Surgery Photo; Setback Could Be Career-Threatening

Tuesday, Aug. 18

Embiid shared a photo on Instagram following the procedure:

Embiid is expected to miss the entire 2015-16 season, according to John Gonzalez of CSNPhilly.com on Aug. 10.

The Philadelphia Inquirer's Keith Pompey reported on July 12 that "one source said the franchise is concerned that this setback is career-threatening."

Embiid to Undergo a Second Surgery for Reported Broken Bone; 76ers Release Statement

Monday, July 20

"Sources have confirmed to the Daily News that the navicular bone in his right foot was rebroken," Cooney reported on July 20.

Pompey reported July 12 that Embiid will undergo a second surgery on his right foot. Embiid suffered a setback in the healing process, and Hinkie stated the Sixers expected the surgery to "result in Joel missing the upcoming season."

Cooney confirmed Pompey's report at the time and added the following regarding the potential severity of the injury:

Bob Cooney @BobCooney76

Another break in Embiid's foot wasn't confirmed to me, "but it would seem like it," said a source

Michael Preston, 76ers director of public relations, provided a statement from Hinkie:

Michael Preston @preston76

#Sixers President of Bball Ops/GM Sam Hinkie statement, re: Embiid http://t.co/B25DyKMJGD

On June 14, Hinkie released a statement regarding the hiccup in Embiid's recovery, per ESPN.com:

Recently, Joel and Sixers personnel traveled to Los Angeles for a series of routine exams with a number of physicians who have been actively involved throughout this process.

During his visit with Dr. Richard Ferkel, a standard CT scan on Joel's right foot revealed less healing than anticipated at this point. Our priority remains providing Joel with every opportunity to ensure he has a long and successful NBA career, and as such, these findings cause us to pause and reassess his current activities.

Embiid's second surgery represents a major blow to the Sixers' arduous rebuilding plan, but the arrival of No. 3 overall draft pick and low-post scoring machine Jahlil Okafor should help soften the blow of this crippling news just a bit.


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