The bad news just keeps coming for Philadelphia fans. On Monday 1/6 Joel Embiid dislocated his left ring finger when the Sixers took on the Oklahoma City Thunder. Embiid came out of the game for what only felt like a few minutes, and returned to lead the team to victory.
It was the Sixers’ first win after four consecutive losses so all was a bit brighter for a moment. Then came word that Embiid would miss the Thursday night matchup against the Boston Celtics. Now comes the news the Philadelphia was dreading.
Joel Embiid has reportedly a torn radial collateral ligament in the fourth metacarpal in his left hand. Simply put, he would not be participating in basketball activities for now and his return timetable is undetermined.
For now, the team will trend on without their star. Expect Al Horford to see an expanded role and you may even see Tobias Harris return to his natural position of Power Forward. Coach Brett Brown plans to run a more up-tempo offense with Embiid on the shelf. You should also expect to see more of Trey Burke and Shake Milton, possibly even Zhaire Smith on occasion.
Defensively, no one can fill the void Embiid is leaving. There are few defenders like him and while Al Horford is a great defender, he is skilled differently meaning that Brett Brown will have to change up his scheme. Brown already seems aware of this as he told reporters before the game that he will be “taking a blowtorch to what we used to do”.
Hopefully, the drastic change is attainable and the team can maintain balance during this trying time.
For now, Embiid will continue to consult with doctors to discuss his next steps. Here’s to wishing Embiid a speedy and thorough recovery.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports