JOEL EMBIID

6/19/21, 7:25 PM

Updated:

Bottom Line: Torn meniscus is bad news. Expect him to be able to play through it for the rest of the playoffs, but with some intermittent setbacks when his symptoms flare up. Long-term NBA data tells us he’s likely to have a shorter career with more missed games as a result. Think Dwayne Wade for comparison.

Embiid has been battling a torn meniscus in his knee, and has actually been playing pretty well. Even though they reported the tear as small, this is still bad long-term news for Sixers fans and Embiid.

The meniscus is a shock-absorber in the knee. Playing with a small tear is likely to make it larger and decrease its ability to heal once he has time for surgery during the offseason. Ultimately, there’s pretty strong data from NBA players to tell us that this is likely to shorten his career and result in some missed games towards the end. Think Dwayne Wade for comparison to a similar injury and career trajectory.

BUT there is a silver lining. Once he has surgery, Embiid should be able to bounce right back at the start of next season to the same production levels that we’ve been seeing from him this year. As we’ve witnessed so far this postseason, the knee doesn’t have to keep him from playing, or even limit his minutes at all.

It is unfortunately going to intermittently flare up with pain and swelling, and we probably saw the effect of this in his 0-12 2nd half performance during Game 4. They’ll try to manage and prevent these symptoms with medications and injections, but it’s hard to guarantee total success in keeping him feeling pain-free.

Embiid has demonstrated major toughness to play through the injury at the level he has, and it’s not unrealistic to think that he can keep up his productivity for the remainder of this year’s playoffs. Unfortunately, it also means that we will likely see this knee start to limit him at some point in the next few years.

Image Source: Keith Allison, CC-BY-SA-2.0