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Sixers’ Joel Embiid reveals he battled depression in injury recovery

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid had a long road back to the floor following a meniscus procedure he underwent back on Feb. 6. The big fella missed two months before making his return in Tuesday’s 109-105 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Embiid played 29:22 in the win and scored 24 points with seven assists, six rebounds, and three steals. He did have six turnovers which is a big blemish, but other than that, he looked like himself. He shot 12-for-12 from the free-throw line and gave Philadelphia the big presence it needed to win.

With that being said, dealing with yet another injury in his career took a big mental toll on the reigning league MVP. He had to battle through a lot in order to get back on the floor.

“It was not a good ride,” Embiid said after the win. “I will tell you that. Usually, when I have injuries, I just tell myself move on, on to the next one, get better, and fix it, but this one took a toll mentally with being depressed and it was not a good one. So, still not where I’m supposed to be, especially mentally, but I just love to play. I love basketball and I want to play, and any chance that I can be out there, I’m gonna take it.”

Mental health is a big challenge for anybody. Even for somebody like Embiid who essentially has it all. It was tough for him to stay positive and continue to get himself back on the floor for the Sixers. He wasn’t even sure what was bothering him. It was a lot for him to handle.

“I don’t know,” Embiid added when asked what the reason for his depression was. “For some reason, this injury was just—I don’t know. It was disappointing. It was depressing. It took me a while to get over it and I still haven’t gotten over it. So just gotta take it day by day. Look at the positives. I’m back. So hopefully every single day try to get better and get back to myself.”

To battle through all of the physical challenges that come with an injury recovery such as that one along with the mental toll of it, one has to give Embiid a lot of credit. He singled out the important people in his life to help him through it all.

“Family,” he stated. “Just looking at their faces. My wife and young Arthur. Waking up every single day and taking him to school, picking him up, playing with him all day. That kind of takes your mind away from everything that’s going on and then, obviously, watching the games at night, you got pissed off because you felt like you could help and could do something, but it’s all about family.”

Family is an important part of life. They will always be there for you. Embiid was able to lean on his at an important time.

“That’s why I always say, basketball obviously means a lot and I love it,” he finished. “I love to play and it’s the best thing for me, but family also comes first and that’s the thing that got me through it.”

Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire