Apr 20, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) celebrates scoring the game winning basket against the Toronto Raptors with Philadelphia 76ers forward Danny Green (14) during overtime of game three of the first round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Despite holding a commanding lead in their series against the Toronto Raptors, the Philadelphia 76ers got some bad news on Friday relating to their star and MVP candidate, Joel Embiid.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Friday that Embiid has an injury to his right thumb. At least for now, though, the 76ers will not miss his services, as he’s planning on playing through it.

We’d say that this was not welcome news for the 76ers and their fans — but that would be a dramatic understatement.

In the short term, this certainly bolsters Toronto’s chances in the ongoing Eastern Conference quarterfinals series between the two teams.

Realistically, though, Philadelphia should be fine against Toronto. The 76ers presently lead the series 3-0 and are going for a sweep on Saturday afternoon. Even if the Raptors win that game, Game 5 would be in Philadelphia — where the 76ers won the series’ first two games by decisive 20 and 15-point margins, respectively. Embiid being limited will hurt Philadelphia but chances are, the 76ers will get through this series.

Beyond that, though, it’s more of a mystery. Even if Embiid plays, will he be at his best? If they’re going to continue to advance through the Eastern Conference playoffs against increasingly tough competition (including a likely matchup against the No. 1 seeded Miami Heat in the next round), the 76ers will need Embiid at top form.

[Shams Charania]

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