76ers' Joel Embiid leaves game with new knee injury, will get MRI

Philadelphia 76ers v Golden State Warriors
Philadelphia 76ers v Golden State Warriors

Joel Embiid had missed two straight games with a knee issue, but with the team having lost three straight, he returned Tuesday night against the Warriors, trying to turn things around. It wasn't working, and Embiid was not moving like his MVP himself — he was labored and slow — and had 14 points on 5-of-18 shooting.

That's when, with a little over four minutes left in the game, he got the ball and tried to back down Draymond Green. Jonathan Kuminga jumped in to double him, swiped at the ball knocking it loose, then both Embiid and Kuminga went to the ground to get the ball, and Kuminga landed on Embiid's knee.

Postgame, 76ers coach Nick Nurse said this new injury was unrelated to the one that kept Embiid out the previous two games. He said there was no update and added Embiid will get an MRI Tuesday night or Wednesday to see the extent of the damage.

The vibe in the Sixers locker room is that Embiid is going to miss some time, Sam Amick reported at The Athletic.

If Embiid misses six more games the rest of this season, he is ineligible for MVP, All-NBA or any other awards under the league's new Player Participation Policy that is part of the just approved CBA.

Embiid has been playing the best basketball of his career this season, averaging a league-best 36 points a game — he is on pace to be the second player ever to have more points than minutes played — plus 11.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists a night. On the other end of the court he remains an elite rim-protector. There's good reason he is considered the MVP frontrunner at midseason.

He didn't look like that against the Warriors, and overall the team looked sluggish, partly due to injuries that also sidelined Tyrese Maxey, Nicolas Batum, De'Anthony Melton, Marcus Morris Sr. and Robert Covington. The result was the 76ers falling at home to the Warriors, 119-107. Stephen Curry had 37 to lead Golden State, while Tobias Harris had 26 for Philadelphia.

But the outcome of the game pales in comparison to the outcome of the upcoming MRI, which could impact both the MVP race and the race at the top of the Eastern Conference.