During the first quarter of the Game 4 matchup against the Washington Wizards, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid went down with a knee injury. Although he stayed on the court for a few more minutes before getting pulled out for his first rest of the matchup on Monday, Embiid went straight to the locker room to get his knee checked out during the second quarter.
He would never return to the court. As the Sixers said Embiid was dealing with knee soreness, they ruled him out for the rest of the Game 4 matchup, which the 76ers lost on the road. After the game, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers didn't have an update on the big man. All he could say was that Embiid would undergo an MRI the next morning.
The Sixers didn't offer any clarity on the MRI results on Tuesday, but they did list Embiid as doubtful on the injury report ahead of Game 5. Then finally, on Wednesday, after getting several opinions from different specialists, the 76ers reached an official diagnosis on Embiid's knee and announced it with an official statement.
"An MRI, which was reviewed by several orthopedic specialists, revealed that Joel Embiid has a small lateral meniscus tear in his right knee.
The injury will be managed with physical therapy and a treatment program. Embiid is out for tonight's game vs. Washington and considered day-to-day."
Embiid hasn't spoken publicly since the incident occurred, but his head coach revealed what's going on with the big man behind the scenes before the Sixers participated in their Game 5 matchup with the Wizards on Wednesday.
“We’ve talked a couple of times, and he is what you think he would be," Rivers explained on Wednesday regarding Embiid. "He’s a competitor. The fact that he’s not playing tonight or whenever he can’t play, it bothers him. He’s really not in a great place that way, but he’s good. He’ll be fine.”
Embiid is no stranger to missing games. Ever since coming to the NBA, the big man has had a hard time staying healthy. While this year, his offseason preparation allowed him to have his healthiest season as a pro, he still missed a chunk of games throughout the year. So, as expected, Embiid is frustrated with the current situation.
Despite missing Wednesday's series finale against the Wizards, Embiid is reportedly expected to return at some point during the postseason. When asked about a possible timeline, Rivers didn't have much to offer on that front.
"He’s gonna do his treatment, and we’re gonna assess the day-to-day and see when we can get him," Rivers said. "I have no expectation other than I hope for him to be back. I can’t give you a timeline. I can’t give you anything right now. I can just tell you he’s willing to go through whatever it takes to get back on the floor. He’s a warrior, and if there’s a way for him to get back on the floor, he will find his way.”
With the Wizards series in the rearview, the Sixers will now move on to a seven-game series against the Atlanta Hawks, which is set to tip-off on Sunday. While Embiid's status for Game 1 is unknown right now, the 76ers have a few days to prepare for the second-round opener with or without the big man.