The reigning league MVP will be re-evaluated in early March following a procedure to fix a meniscus injury in his left knee and there is hope that he will be able to return during the regular season.
President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey made moves such as bringing in Buddy Hield and Cam Payne in order to help the Sixers right now. They are both terrific shooters who can help Philadelphia on the floor, especially, when and *if* Embiid returns.
“I don’t wanna give it a scale,” Morey said of Embiid’s timeline. “We’re hopeful. Feedback has been more good than bad since the first we heard about what led to his procedure so we’re hopeful and we’re building the team to make it better this year. Obviously, it’s not 100%, but we felt like with Joel playing at an MVP level where hopefully he can get back to that, that this is a year we got a real shot.”
That is all a positive sign for a return to play for Embiid before the season ends. The Sixers want to be able to have him get a few games in at least before the playoffs begin in April because Morey feels like the Sixers have a legitimate shot if he’s healthy.
“Eye test, data, whatever shows that we were beating great teams,” Morey added. “We were really, really beating up bad teams, but we were also beating good teams and really one or two teams were right there with us.”
Some believe Morey’s moves at the deadline were more so focused on the future. However, while the future is an obvious aspect he likes to focus on, the prospect of Embiid returning is something that played a factor in his decisions.
“Always planning for the future,” Morey explained. “If the hope wasn’t there for Joel, I think it would’ve changed things dramatically. We’re very hopeful. Obviously, it’s not 100%— unfortunately, it’s probably a good chunk short of 100%— but we thought it was the right thing…Winning the title is hard. There’s a lot of ways you can not win the title, and obviously, Joel not coming back at the level we hope would be one of the ways that we can’t win this year, most likely.”
Morey is right in that respect. If Embiid isn’t out there, the Sixers don’t stand much of a chance. However, if the big fella can play, then Philadelphia is going to be in a great position. He just needs to be healthy and the Sixers will have just as great of a chance as anybody.
“Other teams, their reason they can’t win is they’re just not good enough,” Morey finished. “So there are a lot of ways you can’t win. I generally like bets on players who are more talented that are out a little bit more. I’ll be more talented, out more, than less talented, always available. It’s nice to have both sometimes, but you want the best team and sometimes that means you’re going to take some risk on the injury front and we’re feeling that right now.”