Joel Embiid Out for 76ers vs. Suns Due to Ankle Injury

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 10, 2020

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid looks on from the bench after being injured earlier in an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)
Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers superstar Joel Embiid has been ruled out of the team's Tuesday matchup against the Phoenix Suns with a left ankle injury, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Sixers center suffered the injury during the first quarter of the team's 124-121 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers Sunday. Paul Hudrick of NBC Sports noted that Embiid would be "undergoing treatment and evaluation" on Monday night. Wojnarowski noted the Sixers don't believe the injury is serious and expect Embiid back soon.

Any serious injury to Embiid would have been an enormous blow to a Sixers team already without Ben Simmons, who underwent surgery on his left knee Monday to clean out a loose body and is expected to be out for the remainder of the season. 

Any title aspirations the Sixers might have had likely went out the window with that injury. Losing Embiid as well for any significant time would have assuredly ended any hopes of even winning a single playoff series. 

Embiid, 26, is leading the Sixers in scoring (23.5 PPG), rebounding (11.8 RPG) and blocked shots (1.3 BPG), shooting 47.8 percent from the field and 33.1 percent from three. He's the NBA's best two-way center and the focal point for the Sixers at both ends of the court. 

Missing Embiid for another game isn't the end of the world for the Sixers (42-28), who seem likely to finish as the No. 6 seed, trailing both the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers by one game with three games remaining. That would set up a matchup with the Boston Celtics, who the Sixers went 3-1 against this season, though facing them without Simmons is a taller task. 

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For the surging Suns, however, playing the Sixers without Embiid is big. The Suns (32-39) are 6-0 in Orlando and now trail the Memphis Grizzlies (33-38) by just one game in the race for the No. 8 seed, and the Portland Trail Blazers (33-39) by a half game. The San Antonio Spurs (31-38) are also right in the mix, setting up an exciting close to the season in the Western Conference. 

And the Sixers will also be missing Josh Richardson on Tuesday, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, while both Tobias Harris and Al Horford are questionable to play. The Suns could be facing a Sixers team without five players who have started for the majority of the season.