The early 2021-22 season has gotten off to a rough start for the Philadelphia 76ers. The Ben Simmons situation is bad enough, and now Joel Embiid is dealing with a knee issue that sound pretty serious, especially considering how early in the season we are.
The 76ers are 2-2 on the season, with wins over the New Orleans Pelicans and Oklahoma City Thunder, and losses to the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks. They take the court again on Thursday, with a home game against the Detroit Pistons.
Through those games, Embiid is averaging 19.3 points and 7.3 rebounds, both of which would be career lows. It’s a small sample size that wouldn’t be worth freaking out about, except that the superstar center says he’s in real pain.
According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Embiid said that he “couldn’t walk for two days” after the season opener against New Orleans. “He’s playing because Ben Simmons is not playing,” she added.
.@ramonashelburne on Joel Embiid playing through injuries (via NBA Today).
"He told me after this game in New Orleans, he couldn't walk for two days." 😳
(via NBA Today) pic.twitter.com/yuq6fdbfDN
— ESPN (@espn) October 27, 2021
“They need one of them on the court, he wants to show leadership at this moment. You don’t want to fall behind to where you can’t come back,” Shelburne continued on NBA Today.
“He’s settling for a midrange game that he doesn’t have right now.”
Shelburne says that the issue is “knee soreness” stemming from a meniscus injury. Joel Embiid, who has played in 51 games each of the last two years, may have been in the MVP discussion if he had more games under his belt last year. She says that he doesn’t want his availability to be used against him again. At the same time, if he can’t get by defenders and has to settle for jumpers rather than physically dominating opponents, it may be worth it for the long term to shut him down for a bit and get his knee right.