Embiid Not Expected In Summer League

But the big man is not experiencing pain.


Ever since the Sixers announced earlier this month that Joel Embiid‘s healing was not progressing as quickly as anticipated, the health of the Sixers potential franchise player has been at the forefront of most fans minds.

General Manager Sam Hinkie addressed Embiid’s health during his post-draft press conference today. While Hinkie was not able to provide much certainty on the big man’s future — they’re still in the process of getting opinions from various medical professionals around the world — Hinkie did say he did not expect Embiid to participate in summer league.

“I don’t see how he’d play in summer league. [Those are] not the kind of conversations we’ve been having,” Hinkie said.

Hinkie did say that Embiid was not feeling any pain or discomfort in his foot.

“He feels really good. It’s part of what makes this confusing for him, because he feels great,” Hinkie said. “In fact, he says ‘I can’t believe how good I feel. And I’ve felt great for a while.’

“It seems hard to believe something could be wrong,” Hinkie concluded.

But something is wrong. Exactly what that is, however, they’re not sure.

Hinkie described a diligent regiment of checkups and CT scans the Sixers have been putting Embiid through in order to help map out a roadmap for Embiid’s recovery.

“The nature of Navicular injuries, and the nature of stress fractures, is you see these slow improvements, and then you slow it down. And you load it, and then you slightly unload it,” Hinkie described. “Any time you get any sort of negative feedback you unload, and you slow down and re-assess.

“As part of that, we had a proactive set of regular MRI’s that we would give him. Each of those we would send out to a variety of doctors, both internally and externally, and say ‘What do you think at this checkpoint?’,” Hinkie described. “When we would find enough consensus we would move to the next stage.”

Through March, everything seemed to be going fine for Embiid’s recovery.

“In March he had a CT scan that looked right on schedule. And at that point he was 9 months post [surgery], and they said ‘This looks excellent. Everything is good. Take the next step,” Hinkie described.

That next step was increasing his basketball activity.

“That went great, and he played wonderfully, and was able to more and more, day by day by day, including play [basketball], and play in our gym, and shoot, and run, and do all sorts of things,” Hinkie said. “Then we had one more precautionary [check-up], that was largely the pre-summer league one, and it looked different. It just looked different.

“He had no symptoms, he doesn’t have any pain. It hasn’t really been bothering him, he had been many, many weeks without even any soreness, and it just looks different,” Hinkie said about Embiid’s condition. “So it causes the surgeons to say ‘Well that’s different. What is that? Let’s get to the bottom of this,’ and that’s the thing we’ve been working on.”

So the quest to find out why Embiid’s right foot looks different from his previous scans, and what that means for his future, is ongoing. The Sixers met with Martin O’Malley at the Hospital for Special Surgery on Tuesday. They will now send him down to Bob Anderson of the Carolina Medical Center for another opinion.

Hinkie went on to say that he’s not yet sure what the next course of action is, but it sounds like they’re getting close to a decision. Everything is still on the table, including the potential for another surgery.

“No,” Hinkie said bluntly when asked whether surgery had been ruled out. “All options are on the table.

“We’ve been talking to a lot of experts around the nation, and honestly around the globe, about what the best course of action is for him,” Hinkie said. “We’re not sure what that is. It seems like we’re close. As soon as we know, we’ll let you know. But we’re not sure what that is just yet.”

Hopefully that announcement is soon, as it’s hard for Sixers fans to not have the worst-case scenario stuck in their heads.