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As the Philadelphia 76ers’ 2022 NBA Playoff run progressed, rumors were spreading about the potential of Joel Embiid joining the French national team in the summer.

Several reports indicated that Embiid was working to obtain a French passport so he could be on the country’s national team. A couple of weeks back, Embiid was officially granted French citizenship, taking one step closer to making that idea becoming a reality.

Although Embiid is on the right path to playing for another team outside of the NBA, former NBA veteran and the general manager for France’s team Boris Diaw mentioned that Embiid’s injuries, which he suffered during the NBA Playoffs, prevented him from making his EuroBasket debut, according to BasketNews

“His [Joel Embiid’s] request for naturalization has been accepted,” said Diaw. “We know that he’s still waiting for the French passport. When he obtains it, then he can start the process and apply for a FIBA license for the national team,” continued Diaw. “He would’ve liked to play this summer if he hadn’t been injured. But he underwent hand surgery and didn’t return to basketball,” Diaw revealed. “It would’ve been too close, for him and Victor Wembanyama,” Diaw added

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During the NBA Playoffs, Embiid suffered a facial injury and a hand injury. Although the orbital fracture didn’t require surgery, Embiid underwent multiple medical procedures to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb and fix a separate injury he suffered on his left index finger, according to team officials.

“I’m focused on getting healthy,” Embiid said following Philadelphia’s final playoff bout with the Miami Heat. “That’s the key. The NBA season is what’s more important. I have to put that focus into playing 82 games and the playoffs before I do anything in the summer that could jeopardize what I’m able to do during the regular season.” 

Embiid’s injuries are not expected to affect him at the start of the 2022-2023 season. After getting multiple procedures done, the team is confident that, barring any unexpected setbacks, the big man will be fully ready to go when training camp rolls around. And if all goes well for Embiid in 2022-2023 health-wise, perhaps he’ll make his Euro debut around this time next year. 

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for All76ers, a Sports Illustrated channel. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.


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