Facing off against a pair of teams near-singularly focused on shutting him down, Embiid crashed the boards, crashed to the floor, and crushed any questions over whether or not he wanted to play through the pain in the pursuit of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Did it work? Ultimately no; Embiid was hit with adversity after adversity after adversity – not to mention elbows from opposing players – and yet, no matter how much protective equipment he had to wear, Embiid found a way to will himself back onto the court and produce at a pretty darn high level, all things considered.
But now that the season’s done, “The Process” can focus on other things, like watching soccer, (presumably) hanging out with Jimmy Butler, and getting surgery with enough healing time to return to the court for the Philadelphia 76ers organized team activities later this year, at least according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The Philadelphia 76ers should have a healthy Joel Embiid later this year.
For the most part, Joel Embiid was pretty darn healthy over the course of the 2021-22 NBA regular season.
Sure, he caught COVID, a fate that befell about a third of the association when all things were said and done, and missed a game here or there for rest, but out of 82 possible games, Embiid appeared in 68 of them, including a pretty impressive stretch from December 15th, 2021 to April 9th, 2022, where he missed just two games over 53 contests.
And the best part? Embiid didn’t exactly sleepwalk his way through the regular season while conserving his energy for the playoffs. No, to steal from the squared circle, Embiid was a fighting champion who outdueled almost every center he faced off against and scored more points than any other player in the NBA regardless of position, conference, or situation.
Mind you, Embiid has never had a “bad” season by any stretch of the imagination, as he averaged the third-most points per game of any center in the association during his rookie season, but goodness, if you were waiting for that season where the ‘Most Valuable Philadelphian‘ would go from perennial All-Star starter to legitimate challenger for the best player in the world, this was certainly the one.
Can Joel Embiid follow it up, take another step forward for the Philadelphia 76ers and become even better with his hand/face/head back to full strength? Only time will tell, but if two straight MVP snubs light an even bigger fire in the heart powering his 7-foot, 280-pound frame, the entire association is about to have their hands full… which, coincidentally, is why he goes to the free throw line as often as he does.