Joel Embiid could have to wait two full seasons — at least — before he plays in an NBA game.
The Philadelphia 76ers center will have a second surgery on his right foot that likely will cause him to miss the entire 2015-16 season, The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey reported Saturday, citing several NBA sources.
“I would say there’s a great possibility that Embiid won’t play next year,” a source told Pompey. “Just think how long they sat him when they thought he was healthy.”
The 21-year-old 7-footer underwent surgery for a broken bone in his right foot in June of last year, just days before Philadelphia selected him with the third overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft. He originally was expected to miss four to six months, but the Sixers opted to hold him out for the entire season.
Sources told Pompey the team is preparing as if Embiid won’t play this season, and another source added Philly is concerned the big man’s second surgery could be a “career-threatening” setback.
The team has yet to announce any formal decision on Embiid, but it would be a crushing blow if the Cameroon native is forced to sit out yet another season. Embiid has battled injuries since his college days at Kansas, where he missed the 2014 NCAA Tournament with a back injury.
The Sixers are hoping Embiid doesn’t follow in the footsteps of 2007 first overall pick Greg Oden, who never got his career off the ground while fighting a series of injuries. It’s likely the team will take their time in making sure Embiid is fully healthy, though. Former All-Star Yao Ming twice dealt with similar foot injuries in 2008 and 2009 and was forced to retire in 2011.
Thumbnail photo via Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports Images
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