Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid — the reigning league MVP — will undergo a procedure to address a left meniscus injury in the coming days, the team announced Sunday night, and “the door isn’t closed” on a return this season, sources told ESPN.
Embiid is expected to miss an extended period, but a more precise timeline isn’t expected until doctors complete the procedure, sources said.
Embiid has had injuries to both knees in his career, and this one comes at an inopportune time for him and the Sixers. The All-Star center is leading the NBA in scoring with 35.3 points a game and was on pace to join Wilt Chamberlain as the only other player to average at least 35 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists in a season. He’s also the only player aside from Chamberlain in 1961-62 to average at least one point per minute played.
Embiid, 29, missed Game 5 of the 2021 first-round playoff series vs. the Washington Wizards with a small meniscus tear in his right knee and had season-ending surgery on his left meniscus in 2016-17, missing 37 games.
Embiid had a 22-game streak of at least 30 points ended Tuesday in a loss to the Golden State Warriors, a run that was the fifth longest in league history. Embiid suffered the meniscus injury in the fourth quarter, when Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga fell on the knee.
The 76ers have struggled with Embiid out of the lineup, losing 10 of 14 games without him this season. Philadelphia is 30-18 and entered Sunday night’s games fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers are 26-8 with Embiid on the floor this season.
Embiid will fall well short of the league’s 65-game minimum to earn postseason awards, stuck at 34 games now.
ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report.