Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid could miss the next four games (knee)

(Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
(Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /

After shining both on and off the court over All-Star weekend, it looks like the Philadelphia 76ers will be without Joel Embiid for the next week-plus.

It looks like Joel Embiid went a little too hard at All-Star weekend, and the Philadelphia 76ers will suffer as a result.

That’s right, according to ESPN, Embiid will miss at least the next week due to a sore knee, which includes a four-game stretch against the Miami Heat (2/21), the Portland Trail Blazers (2/23), the New Orleans Pelicans (2/25), and the Oklahoma City Thunder (2/28), leaving the team to fend with the less than prolific trio of Boban Marjanovic, Amir Johnson, and Jonah Bolden roaming the paint.

In hindsight, Elton Brand now looks like a genius for procuring Boban and stretch four Mike Scott in the Tobias Harris trade.

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However, even though the Sixers are unequivocally better off now then they were say a month ago to weather an Embiid injury, no one can really be all that prepared to lose their most prolific scorer and offensive focal point.

With Embiid off the court, Brett Brown will need to scheme a way to make up for about 28 points, 13.5 rebounds and a pair of blocks a night, in addition to arguably the best rim protector in the entire league (at the very least the Eastern Conference).

Could the team simply opt to follow the formula they deployed last season when Embiid missed the final 15 games of the regular season due to a broken orbital bone in his cheek (thanks Markelle Fultz); play fast and capitalize on Ben Simmons full court mastery? Sure, that will more likely than not be the plan, but how well will that work against centers like Hassan Whiteside, Enes Kanter (a recent Blazers signee), Anthony Davis, and Steven Adams?

Probably not great.

No, in actuality, this is probably the worst four-game stretch of the season for Embiid to miss from a purely basketball standpoint, not because the games aren’t necessarily winnable, as they all are, but because Embiid could have been oh so useful.

As things presently stand, the 76ers are sitting fifth in the East, tied with the Boston Celtics (Boston has the tiebreaker) and one game behind the Indiana Pacers. While no one realistically expects the team to close out the season as a fifth seed, as the Victor Oladipo-less Pacers have to fall back to the mean eventually, dropping two, three, or gasp all four of these games could make securing home court advantage in the first round all the more challenging.

And that’s not even mentioning that the 76ers’ fifth game post-All-Star break, on March 2nd, is against the Golden State Warriors and their brand new Big-5.

Do Brown, Brand, and company really want their star center returning for a nationally televised game where he has to fight tooth and nail with DeMarcus ‘Boogie’ Cousins for say 30 minutes?

Talk about a welcomed return.

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Ultimately, if Joel Embiid is, in fact, hurt then sitting him is without a doubt the right call, but his presence will without a doubt be missed over the next week-plus, as the Philadelphia 76ers will struggle mightily to replace his production even with a newly bolstered bench.