Joel Embiid injury: 76ers star out for Games 1, 2 vs. Heat

Joel Embiid injury
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid receives attention from team trainers after taking an elbow to the head from Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam during the second half of Game 6 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Thursday, April 28, 2022, in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid will not travel with the team for Games 1 and 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Miami Heat, as first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Sunday afternoon.

He could make his way back to the court for either Game 3 or 4, however.

The MVP candidate suffered a right orbital fracture and a mild concussion when he was elbowed by Pascal Siakam during the Sixers’ blowout, Game 6 victory over the Toronto Raptors last week — an avoidable situation considering the Sixers were up 119-90 late in the fourth quarter.

After seeing a specialist on Friday, it was initially reported that he would miss at least five days due to concussion protocols.

Embiid had surgery on a left orbital fracture before in his career, but the potential Game 3 or 4 return suggests such measures won’t have to be taken, at least for the time being.

His availability is paramount for the 76ers’ survival in the playoffs, especially facing the top-seeded Heat in the second round. The center had another MVP-caliber season in 2021-22, posting 30.7 points, 11.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 1.5 blocks per game.

He averaged 26.2 points and 11.3 rebounds in Philadelphia’s first-round series against the Raptors, including 33 in Game 6.

The Eastern Conference semifinal begins on May 2 in Miami.

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