Perhaps you heard the sigh of relief from 76ers fans, for Joel Embiid did not suffer structural damage to the ACL or meniscus after crashing to the floor Friday night, an MRI revealed.
Embiid hyperextended his left knee and was diagnosed with a bone bruise that could cause him to miss only two weeks, according to the team.
The 26-year-old star center hit the floor hard after slamming down a one-handed dunk in the third quarter of a win over the Wizards. Embiid, who is listed at 7-foot and 280 pounds, landed with all his weight on his left leg, causing his knee to buckle.
He limped off the court under his own power and headed to the locker room.
Embiid finished the night with 23 points in 20 minutes.
It wasn’t the first time Embiid has suffered such an injury this season. The native of Cameroon hyperextended his right knee during a game last month, but returned to finish with 37 points, one assist and five rebounds and didn’t miss any time.
The 76ers (26-12) are leading the Eastern Conference on the back of Embiid’s MVP-caliber season. While he is sidelined, there is opportunity for the red-hot Nets to surge in front, from only one game off the pace.
Any injury is a big deal for Embiid, who has never played more than 64 games in a season. He missed the first two full seasons of his NBA career with foot injuries and has played only 240 games combined over the next five years. He is averaging 29.9 points and 11.5 rebounds per game as the 76ers eye finally getting over the hump in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
ESPN first reported the injury update.