BOSTON, MA – JANUARY 6: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks on during the second half against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on January 6, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeat the 76ers 110-106. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that , by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The news is out regarding Joel Embiid’s health, and it’s not good.

ESPN’s Marc Stein reports Embiid is “very likely” to have surgery on his left knee. The Philadelphia 76ers big man suffered a partially torn meniscus and suffered a bone bruise back in January. He’s sat out of live action ever since. Stein adds there’s no timetable on the surgery or when Embiid will make his return to the court, but the prognosis isn’t great.

If Embiid was fully healthy before the injury, it wouldn’t be as big of a deal. NBA stars like Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and Eric Bledsoe have all missed time with a torn meniscus and returned stronger than ever. But on the flip side, the careers of Andrew Bynum and Brandon Roy cratered due to ongoing problems following a meniscus injury (among other injuries).

Regardless, the news in combination with Embiid’s injury history is alarming. Embiid missed two straight seasons due to multiple right foot injuries. The 76ers made sure to baby his progress, giving Embiid a strict minutes limit and not allowing him to play during back-to-backs. But handling him with kid gloves didn’t keep him injury free.

It’s hard not to feel awful for fans in Philadelphia. After multiple seasons watching a terrible team play terrible basketball, Embiid appeared to be the reward for #Trust(ing)TheProcess – and he was (during the first half of the season, at least). The 23-year-old dominated and was the clear-cut Rookie of the Year before the injury, averaging an absurd 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in just 25.4 minutes per game. He unquestionably revitalized the 76ers fanbase and gave everyone a reason to watch Philly games.

Honestly, the news blows. The 76ers are cursed.

In true 76ers fashion, once something went right, something else went wrong. 2016-17 should have been the start of the Ben Simmons-Embiid era. Instead, Simmons rolled his ankle in a training camp scrimmage and will end up missing the entire year. Embiid was picking up the slack – along with Dario Saric, the one Philadelphia rookie who’s stayed healthy – but this latest injury is a setback the 76ers couldn’t afford.

Embiid’s been unlucky, but will he ever appear in a full season for the club? It might sound like a stupid question, but it’s a real concern.

The silver lining in this bleak, gray news is at least it’s not another injury to Embiid’s right foot. Perhaps he’ll use the offseason to return stronger than ever and resume dominating oppositions on a bi-nightly basis. If it makes things easier to swallow, at least the 76ers won’t contend this season (or probably next). Who knows? Maybe they’ll land a top draft pick who will actually play.

It’s hard not to be pessimistic. Like most in the basketball community, I just want Embiid to be able to return and play basketball. Nobody wants Embiid to be the big man version of Bradon Roy. Let’s hope the injury is the last he has to deal with for some time.


About Liam McGuire

Social +Staff writer for The Comeback & Awful Announcing.