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Joel Embiid has injury to left lateral meniscus, if surgery is required he could miss extended time

It's never a good sign when teams are vague about a player's injury.

The Philadelphia 76ers are being vague about what happened to Joel Embiid’s left knee against the Warriors, calling it an "injury" — not a tear or partial tear — and not providing a timeline for his return. Here's the official word, via Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Most likely, this is a lateral meniscus tear, and if so, it will almost certainly require surgery. The lateral meniscus — one of the shock absorbers of the knee — plays a crucial role in weight-bearing and movement. Surgery could have Embiid out much of the rest of the regular season, if not longer, depending on details of where the injury is on the meniscus, and if they do a repair or partial removal. Jeff Stotts of In Street Clothes noted that this is not the first injury to Embiid's left meniscus.

With Embiid missing his 13th game of the season Thursday night in Utah, it seems certain he will not play in 65 games this season and, therefore will not qualify to repeat as MVP — he was the frontrunner for the award. He also would be ineligible for All-NBA, Defensive Player of the Year or any other postseason award.

At 29-17, the 76ers sit fifth in the Eastern Conference and likely would slide down the standings without Embiid, possibly into the play-in. Tyrese Maxey has had a breakout season as the team's lead ball handler, and is an All-Star in his own right, but it would be a big ask for him and Tobias Harris to keep this team afloat if Embiid misses extended time. Maxey has missed time recently with a sprained ankle.