Joel Embiid Injury: Updates on 76ers Star's Foot and Recovery

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured Columnist

Dec 22, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) works out prior to a game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers ruled out center Joel Embiid for the 2015-16 season last summer, but the team has put a timetable on his expected return to the floor. 

Continue for updates.

Embiid Seen Shooting Free Throws

Thursday, March 3 

Jessica Camerato of CSN Philadelphia passed along a photo of Embiid shooting free throws after practice:

Jessica Camerato @JCameratoNBCS

Embiid taking free throws after practice https://t.co/QofxFP2HzH

Embiid Rehabbing in Qatar

Tuesday, Feb. 23

"Embiid travelled to Doha, Qatar over the All-Star break consulting and rehabilitating his twice surgically repaired right foot," per Tom Moore of the Intelligencer (via RealGM). He's expected to remain there a couple of more days.

Embiid Expected Back for Start of 2016-17 Season

Friday, Feb. 19

According to NBC Sports' Kurt Helin, Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie said Embiid won't return for 2016 summer league, but he "expects" the big man to be ready for the start of next season as he rehabilitates his injury in Qatar. 

"I’ve always been excited about him because he has rare gifts and a real chance to have a fantastic NBA career," Hinkie said, per Helin. 

Injuries Stalling Embiid's Development

The Sixers selected Embiid with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft out of Kansas, but he missed his entire rookie season after undergoing foot surgery.

Unfortunately for the Cameroon native, he experienced a setback that required an additional surgery on his foot, which knocked him out for the entire 2015-16 campaign as well.

Embiid's extended absence was somewhat beneficial to the 76ers in terms of allowing them to net more desirable draft picks, but it also put him behind the eight ball when it came to developing into the type of player Philly hoped it was drafting.

Despite the long wait, Hinkie insisted he and the entire organization were still excited about what Embiid may ultimately become when asked about it in January, per Brian Seltzer of Sixers.com:

We're pretty optimistic about Jo, still. Obviously, his injury is one that is important to everybody to take really seriously. His day-to-day approach has grown a lot, and grown a lot maybe by the situation, and maybe by his own maturity, and maybe by the way we're handling it, which is a different approach, in that sense, too. He's in a really good spot as of late.

Embiid took some steps toward getting back to full health during the 2015-16 campaign by participating in shootarounds, which allowed fans to catch a glimpse of how smooth he is despite his immense size.

According to Seltzer, head coach Brett Brown marveled at Embiid's skill set while he was on the road to recovery:

He is our best shooter out of the bigs. We all hear, we all talk how we have to put people where they can do well, and I believe he will be able to do this well, then we have to tap into that. That is very unique, to see a 7'2" man have the touch and form, and release of his wrist, you watch the strength of his wrist, and that thing comes off easy, and that is just really special. I think we all sort of can dream a little bit when you look over here. That's a very, very different player.

There is no question Philadelphia's strength is its frontcourt due to the presence of Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel. Embiid brings something different to the table with his perimeter shooting, and he also projects to be a better rim protector than Okafor and a better scorer than Noel.  

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