Feb 5, 2024 - Sports

Joel Embiid's meniscus injury ends his MVP bid

Sixers center Joel Embiid

The Sixers' season hinges on Joel Embiid's availability. Photo: Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Sixers fans went weak in the knees watching star center Joel Embiid hurt himself diving for a ball in last week's game against the Golden State Warriors.

Driving the news: Embiid is out for the foreseeable future after the team announced Sunday that he'll undergo a procedure to repair his left meniscus, per ESPN.

  • The news all but ended his chances of repeating as league MVP and casts doubt on whether he'll return to play this season.
  • Embiid already missed 14 games this season before the latest setback.
  • The league's new load-management rules dictate players must compete in at least 65 games a season to be eligible for annual awards.

Threat level: The Sixers haven't said whether Embiid tore his meniscus, which would be more serious. Recovery times range for a torn meniscus ā€” the pad of cartilage in the knee that acts as a "shock absorber" and is important for basketball players who constantly jump up and down.

  • Embiid missed the final 37 games of the 2016-17 season after tearing his meniscus, per USA Today.

Quick take: Philly cares about championships, not league awards. Enter last season's playoff flameout as Exhibit A.

  • Their potential championship run hinges on the big man's long-term availability, so it's best to rest Embiid, fines be damned.

By the numbers: The Sixers are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings and looked like a lock to make the playoffs before Embiid went down.

The bottom line: Now that Embiid is out of the MVP convo, and potentially the season, the door has opened for ā€” wink, wink šŸ¤£ ā€” Doug McDermott.

What's next: The Sixers square off at home against the Dallas Mavericks tonight at 7pm.


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