Joel Embiid can’t catch a break.
Not only did the five-time All-Star play through a torn ligament in his right thumb for some of Philadelphia’s first-round series with Toronto, but he is now out indefinitely after suffering a right orbital fracture and mild concussion.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Embiid will not travel for Games 1 and 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Game 1 between the 76ers and Heat will take place in Miami on Monday, May 2. Game 2 will be played on Wednesday, May 4.
Wojnarowski noted that there is “optimism” he could return as soon as Game 3 or 4 of the series.
Embiid is having the best season of his career. A finalist for MVP, he led the league in scoring with 30.6 points per game to go along with 11.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.5 blocks. He was dominant against the Raptors in the first round, scoring 30 points in three of the six games.
Unfortunately for Embiid, this isn’t the first time that he’s been bitten by the injury bug in the postseason.
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Joel Embiid injury timeline
2018 NBA Playoffs
In a win over the Knicks on March 28, 2018, Embiid suffered an orbital fracture of his left eye that required surgery. He missed the final eight games of the regular season and the first two games of the NBA Playoffs.
Embiid wore a mask to protect his face when he returned. He did not miss another game the rest of the postseason.
2019 NBA Playoffs
Embiid was limited to 10 of a possible 24 regular-season games following the All-Star break because of left knee tendinitis. His availability for almost all of the first round was up in the air, and he missed Game 3 with knee soreness.
Though that was the only game he missed in the postseason, a stomach virus impacted Embiid in Game 2 of Philadelphia’s second-round series with Toronto. He also needed an IV ahead of Game 4 of the same series because he was throwing up and barely slept the night before, and he played through an upper respiratory infection in Game 5.
2020 NBA Playoffs
After Boston swept Philadelphia in the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs, former 76ers head coach Brett Brown said that Embiid was battling an ankle injury.
2021 NBA Playoffs
Embiid left Philadelphia’s Game 4 loss to Washington in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs with a knee injury.
A couple of days later, the 76ers announced that Embiid had suffered a small lateral meniscus tear in his right knee, which was to be managed with a physical therapy and treatment program.
Embiid did not play in Game 5 — the 76ers took care of business without him to advance — but he returned in the second round and played all seven games, averaging 30.4 points, 12.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists on 46.9 percent shooting from the field.
2022 NBA Playoffs
Following Game 3 against the Raptors, news broke that Embiid was dealing with pain and discomfort in his right thumb. An MRI later revealed a torn ligament.
According to Wojnarowski, Embiid will undergo surgery on his thumb in the offseason.
In Game 6 of the same series, Embiid suffered a right orbital fracture and mild concussion. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported that there “has not been an indication that this injury will require a similar procedure” as his previous orbital fracture, which required surgery.