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Reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid undergoes ‘successful’ surgery on left knee, re-evaluated in four weeks

Philadelphia 76ers superstar Joel Embiid has undergone “successful” surgery to deal with a left knee issue, the team announced on Tuesday.

“Joel Embiid had a successful procedure today to address an injury to the lateral meniscus in his left knee,” the team said in a statement.

“He will be re-evaluated in approximately four weeks.”

Embiid has spent time out of the Philadelphia lineup this season as result of persistent injury issues and has missed 14 out of the 76ers’ 48 games. He was made inactive for Philly’s marquee matchup against Nikola Jokić and the Denver Nuggets on January 27 and was out for a road loss against the Portland Trail Blazers two days later.

He returned to the lineup the following day against the Golden State Warriors but appeared to suffer a knee injury in the fourth quarter when Dubs forward Jonathan Kuminga fell on his legs during a scramble for the ball. Embiid headed to the locker room shortly after and did not return.

Embiid is helped off the floor during the game against the Warriors. - Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Embiid is helped off the floor during the game against the Warriors. - Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Embiid’s unfortunate injury interrupts what has been another terrific campaign for the 29-year-old center. Fresh off the back of a dominant 2022/23 season which saw him win his first MVP award, he currently leads the league in scoring at 35.3 points per game and has dropped at least 50 points on three occasions, a feat which is unmatched around the NBA.

He is also averaging 11.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game while shooting 53.3% from the field and 36.6% from beyond the three-point line.

The 76ers have not yet said how much time Embiid will miss, but the decision to undergo surgery means that he is expected to spend an extended amount of time on the sidelines.

The Cameroonian was recently named to his seventh career All-Star team, but it appears that he will miss this month’s festivities in Indianapolis. More significantly, Embiid’s injury almost certainly ends his chances of repeating as MVP.

Alongside the wider Player Participation Policy that the NBA introduced ahead of this season, the league also set a 65-game threshold for players to qualify for end-of-season awards and All-NBA teams. Embiid can only miss three more games before he becomes ineligible for an award, meaning that his injury essentially takes him out of MVP contention.

Embiid’s injury is also bad news for the 76ers, who are currently 30-18 and occupy the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. Though they have been buoyed by the impressive play of first-time All-Star Tyrese Maxey, the Sixers have struggled when Embiid is not the lineup and are 4-10 without their talisman.

Philadelphia’s depth at center includes Paul Reed and Mo Bamba, though head coach Nick Nurse’s squad will certainly feel Embiid’s absence as it attempts to navigate the season without its star player available in the immediate future.

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