Sixers Lose Embiid to Ankle Injury

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The Philadelphia 76ers suffered another blow when All-Star center Joel Embiid left the team’s Sunday game against the Portland Trail Blazers with an ankle injury.

Embiid appeared to have tweaked his ankle midway in the first quarter while fighting for a rebounds with Portland forward Zach Collins under the basket. He did not go down but landed awkwardly and it was obvious that he was in pain.

After the media timeout with 6:18 left in the first quarter, he walked over to the Philadelphia bench and sat near the scorer’s table. Embiid grimaced as he grabbed his left foot while being checked by the team’s training staff. He returned to his seat in the back row of the Sixers bench but later got up and went to the locker room.

Embiid’s Injury History is Worrisome

After he was ruled out of the game in the second quarter, Embiid would return to the Philly bench where he looked in good spirits. He looked happy and engaged with the game in the second half from his seat. The 3rd pick of the 2014 NBA draft finished with two points on 1-6 shooting and four rebounds in six minutes of action. The severity of his injury is still unknown.

There is concern on Embiid right now because the 7-foot Cameroonian has a long list of injuries. He suffered a stress fracture in his back and missed the 2014 NCAA Tournament. On draft night, he was at home sitting with a cast on his broken left foot. After missing his rookie season, he played in only 31 games in 2016 after tearing a meniscus in his left knee. During the 2017-18 season, he suffered an orbital fracture of his left eye and played only 63 games that season.

Last season, Embiid also dealt with knee issues and played in only a total of 64 games. This season, Embiid was off to a good start again but right before the suspension of the season, he was suffering from shoulder discomfort. This latest mishap though has Sixers fans worried, and they hope it is nothing serious.

Sixers Already Without Simmons

Embiid’s injury comes at a time when the team is still trying to absorb the idea that Ben Simmons will not be rejoining them in the playoffs. Simmons suffered a subluxation of his left patella earlier this week. The Aussie forward/guard will undergo surgery to remove a loose body in his left knee after hurting it during their game against the Washington Wizards last Wednesday. He is not expected to return anytime this season.

Simmons supplanted veteran big man Al Horford as the power forward in Philly’s starting unit while in Orlando. Shake Milton took over the starting guard role but with Simmons out, head coach Brett Brown has gone back with Horford. As for Embiid, rookie Mattisse Thybulle started in the second half for Embiid while Josh Richardson led the Sixers with 34 points in a 124-121 loss to Portland. It remains to be seen what the 76ers’ starting unit will look like without their starting center and leading scorer. What’s sure is that this team is going to struggle in the postseason if he misses a significant amount of games.

The Sixers are trying to move up the Eastern Conference ladder. They are currently in at 42-28 on the season, just one game behind 4th place Miami and 5th place Indiana. If the Sixers move up, they will bump one of those two teams and face the other. If Philly doesn’t catch up, they will play the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs. The Celtics have eliminated the Sixers in their last two series meetings in the postseason.

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Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher.