Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid — the reigning league MVP — will undergo a procedure to address a left meniscus injury in the coming days, the team announced on Sunday night, and the “door isn’t closed” on a return this season, sources told ESPN.
Embiid is expected to miss an extended period of time, but a more precise timeline isn’t expected until doctors complete the procedure, sources said.
Embiid has had several knee injuries in his career — both on his left and right knees — and this comes at a most inopportune time for Embiid and the Sixers. The All-Star center is leading the NBA in scoring with 35.3 points a game and was on pace to join Wilt Chamberlain as the only other player to average at least 35 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists in an NBA season. He’s also the only player aside from Chamberlain in 1961-1962 to average at least one point per minute played.
Embiid, 29, missed Game 5 of the 2021 first-round playoff series vs. the Washington Wizards with a small meniscus tear in his right knee and had season-ending surgery on his left meniscus in 2016-2017 — missing 37 games.
Embiid had a streak of 30-plus points a game ended on Tuesday in a loss to the Golden State Warriors, a run that was the fifth longest in league history. Embiid suffered the meniscus injury in the fourth quarter of that game when Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga fell on his knee.
The 76ers have struggled with Embiid out of the lineup recently, losing 10 of 14 games without him across the season. Philadelphia is 30-18 and entered Sunday night’s games fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers are 26-8 with Embiid on the floor this season.
Embiid will fall well short of the league’s 65-game minimum to earn postseason awards, stuck at 34 games now.
ESPN Stats and Information research contributed to this report.