Skip to main content

Breaking: Joel Embiid Out Indefinitely After Suffering Orbital Fracture And Mild Concussion In Game 6

Joel Embiid

Hopeful 76ers fans got a dose of brutal reality on Friday after news of Joel Embiid's status went public.

After suffering injuries during Game 6's victory in Toronto, the star big man has been ruled out for the foreseeable future.

Sources: 76ers All-NBA star Joel Embiid suffered a right orbital fracture and mild concussion in series-clinching Game 6 win last night in Toronto. He will be listed as out and there is no timetable for his return.

Embiid has been playing through pain this postseason after sustaining a torn ligament in his right thumb -- and now this orbital fracture, concussion, and will now be sidelined.

Embiid's rise to stardom is an amazing story. He didn't start playing basketball until he was 16 years old and never thought he could even make it to the league. Now, he's one of the best players in the game and the face of Philadelphia basketball.

“I didn't start playing until I was 16," said Embiid. "Before that I was playing soccer, I was playing volleyball, so I was actually about to go to France to try to become a professional volleyball player until Luc Mbah a Moute came back to Cameroon and had a camp -- a camp I didn't even want to go to because I had just started playing basketball like three months before that. So I was like yo I’m not good enough. You know these guys they’ve been playing basketball their whole lives and there’s no way I’m gonna get picked for his camp.” said Embiid. "And that was at the time I thought I was gonna be in college for like five years and I really didn’t think I had the potential to be in the NBA because my whole goal coming to America was to use this basketball opportunity to try to get a degree and make something out of my life. Go back home and, you know, make money and help my family. And all that stuff so I never believed that I had any chance in basketball.”

This is obviously an enormous loss for the Sixers. Embiid, 28, was having an MVP-like season. In 68 games, he averaged 30.6 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game on 49% shooting.

In Thursday's series-clinching win, he dropped 33 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks on 66.7% shooting.

Unfortunately, the same problem that has plagued Embiid since draft day is the same problem he's dealing with now: durability. In 6 seasons, the Cameroon star has only played in 65 or more games once, and that's not counting his two-year absence from 2014 to 2016.

The pressure now falls on James Harden, who has struggled since arriving on his new team. But if he can hold down the fort and keep the Sixers afloat, it might buy the team enough time to see Embiid's return and win the series.