Joel Embiid Out 1 Week with Knee Injury; MRI Shows No Structural Damage

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2019

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) in the first half during an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns, Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers superstar center Joel Embiid won't be with the team when it returns from the All-Star break Thursday against the Miami Heat

Per the Sixers (h/t ESPN's Tim Bontemps), Embiid had an MRI that revealed no structural damage after he experienced soreness in his left knee. The All-Star center will be re-evaluated in one week as he undergoes physical therapy and load management. 

Since entering the NBA, Embiid has been among the league's most injury-prone players. In addition to missing each of his first two seasons with foot issues, Embiid missed 51 contests in 2016-17 and sat out 19 games last season.

This is Embiid's first major injury of the season. He's only sat out four of Philadelphia's 58 games leading into the All-Star break. 

The 24-year-old is in the midst of his best season with averages of 27.3 points, 13.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.

Despite his durability issues, Embiid is widely regarded as one of the NBA's best bigs and one of the best overall players in the league. He contributes in nearly all areas, which isn't true of most NBA centers. In addition to his ability to score, rebound and defend around the basket, Embiid has some shooting range, and he is a quality passer.

Essentially everything goes through Embiid and guard Ben Simmons for the Sixers offense, though the in-season additions of Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris will make it easier to keep putting up big point totals without their star big man.

However, the Sixers are somewhat lacking in frontcourt depth, which will make replacing Embiid an extremely difficult task.

Boban Marjanovic and veteran Amir Johnson are both likely to see extensive time at center until Embiid returns. Look for them to go small more often during his absence as well.

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