Late Saturday night, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports broke the news that Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid apparently suffered a setback in his recovery from surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right foot.
Yahoo Sources: Philadelphia's Joel Embiid suffers setback in healing process, must sit-out thru further evaluation. http://t.co/yLHyP8xEvT
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 14, 2015
A CT scan revealed that the foot is not healing as quickly as it should and that it could be enough to not only derail the Sixers’ plans to have Embiid play in the summer league but could affect when he makes his debut with the team this season.
Minutes after the news broke, Twitter was overrun with members of Sixers Nation having a collective breakdown. Fans were in a complete panic, desperate to be told what was going on. After two straight years of losing and tanking, this happens?
Then, right before rioting in the streets of South Philly looked to begin any second, Sixers GM Sam Hinkie issues the following statement regarding Embiid and the situation with his foot:
“As part of the conservative approach focused on the long-term health, recovery and care of Joel, we have been closely monitoring his progress, regularly evaluating his status and adjusting our plans accordingly.
“Recently, Joel and Sixers personnel traveled to Los Angeles for a series of routine exams with a number of physicians who have been actively involved throughout this process. During his visit with Dr. Richard Ferkel, a standard CT scan on Joel’s right foot revealed less healing than anticipated at this point.
“Our priority remains providing Joel with every opportunity to ensure he has a long and successful NBA career, and as such, these findings cause us to pause and reassess his current activities. Together with Joel and his representatives, we will continue to consult with the experienced team of doctors who have been an integral part of his evaluations, while also engaging in dialogue with a broader set of experts and specialists.
“Discussions regarding the appropriate next steps are currently ongoing and we will share an update once it becomes available.”
Of course, that did little to calm everyone’s nerves as thoughts turned to how this would affect the NBA Draft, which is less than two-weeks away, and the possibility that Embiid might need a second surgery and would have to sit out the entire 2015-16 NBA season.
On Sunday, things began to look a bit better as Jeff Skversky of 6ABC News broke the story on Twitter that it seems as if Embiid’s foot will not require any more surgery, which is about as good a sign as Sixers fans could possibly ask for. While nothing has been confirmed regarding whether Embiid will need another surgical procedure or not as the Sixers are still gathering information, we can all hope this report is accurate.
So what happens now? It’s tough to say. Depending on what exactly is wrong with Embiid’s foot, the most immediate ramification would be felt at the NBA Draft. Most analysts had the Sixers pretty much locked in on Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell, despite the fact he cancelled his scheduled workout with the team. But this new wrinkle could change any plans that might have been made if Hinkie and the Sixers feel they need to add an insurance policy at the center position.
Depending on how bad the setback is, it is also safe to say that in all likelihood Embiid will not be playing in Utah summer league next month as the Sixers have taken a very slow and methodical approach to his rehab and recovery. Don’t be shocked in Embiid not only misses the summer leagues, but doesn’t make his debut with the team until well into the season.
Of course, this also has fans thinking about the long-term when it comes to Embiid and his career. Is this what fans have to look forward to for the duration of Embiid’s time as a Sixer? This is the same type of injury that caused Houston Rockets All-Star Yao Ming to have to retire from basketball and cut his career short. Can fans expect the same thing to happen to the player many thought would be the centerpiece of the rebuilt Sixers for many years to come?
Honestly, it’s too early to say. The foot not requiring surgery is a good sign, but I don’t think many fans will relax until Joel Embiid is actually on the court, playing in a Sixers uniform.