76ers' Joel Embiid Won't Play vs. Knicks Because of Shoulder Injury

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2020

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid plays during an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid will miss Thursday night's game against the New York Knicks at the Wells Fargo Center because of a left shoulder sprain.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported further evaluation of the shoulder is "ongoing" after the center was forced to leave Wednesday's loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers with the injury.

Injuries are nothing new for Embiid. He suffered the shoulder injury, a sprained ankle and a finger injury, among other ailments, this season and famously missed the first two seasons of his career after Philadelphia selected him with the No. 3 overall pick of the 2014 NBA draft.

The University of Kansas product has never played more than 64 games in a season since he entered the league.

There is no doubting his overall talent when healthy, though. The three-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA selection averaged 27.5 points, 13.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.9 blocks per game last season and has followed up with 23.3 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.3 blocks per night in 2019-20.

Embiid is a primary reason the 76ers entered the season on the shortlist of title contenders in the Eastern Conference, and the team still figures to have a bright future if he can remain healthy.

Look for Philadelphia to turn toward the combination of Al Horford, Tobias Harris and Kyle O'Quinn in the frontcourt until Embiid is ready to return, but the team's overall outlook come playoff time will be far better if its starting center returns.

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