By Harry Allison
The other shoe has dropped for Sixer center Joel Embiid.
Embiid was on track to be the No. 1 (or at worst No. 2) pick in the 2014 NBA draft, until concerns with his foot needing surgery had him fall to the Sixers at No. 3. He missed all of last season recovering from that injury (although by May both his agent and the team said he was back to “playing basketball”), however, a recent setback raised concern that the recovery had gone well off track.
It has — Embiid is going to need another foot surgery and likely will miss the entire 2015-16 NBA season, reports Keith Pompey of the Inquirer.
The 7-footer will have a second surgery after the latest setback in the healing of his right foot, according to several NBA sources. The team will decide whether to have it in North Carolina or at the New York Hospital of Special Surgery
“I would say there’s a great possibility that Embiid won’t play next year,” the source said. “Just think how long they sat him when they thought he was healthy.”
The need for surgery has been confirmed by John Gonzalez of CSNPhilly.com, who notes that the timeline for Embiid’s recovery is unknown — it will depend on what the surgeons find and need to do — and he could potentially return next season.
Whatever the case could this now be career threatening? Maybe. Sixers fans have reason to be concerned. Chronic foot issues and NBA big men — whose job requires running up and down a hardwood floor — are a terrible mix.
The Sixers drafted Jahlil Okafor with the No. 3 pick this year and he will play along the front line with Nerlens Noel (who sat out his first year after knee surgery but played last season). Those two with Embiid could have made a formidable front line rotation for years to come.