Joel Embiid is set to undergo a surgery that will put him out for the next 4 weeks
The Philadelphia 76ers are heading back into the playoffs for the first time since 2012. They are now tied with the Cleveland Cavaliers with an identical record at 45-30. They are currently on a 9-game winning streak after beating the Atlanta Hawks, 101-91. Joel Embiid has been playing well. Ben Simmons is playing like the super rookie that Philadelphia needs him to be. All things are working well for the Sixers. For now. Can they sustain their run without their All-Star center?
After getting his face hit by a teammate, Joel Embiid is scheduled to undergo a surgery to repair the orbital fracture in his left eye- a procedure that will put him out for 4 weeks at most. It's almost certain that Joel Embid will miss the remaining 7 games of the Sixers and will certainly miss the first round of the playoffs.
The good news though, that schedule only includes two games against playoff-bound teams, one of them is Cleveland while the other is the Milwaukee Bucks. The rest of the games are against struggling teams- beatable teams.
Now here's a tricky part: can the Sixers hang on to a top 4 finish without Embiid?
The answer would be yes. As long as they beat those two playoff-bound teams, particularly the Cavs because if they beat the Cavs, they can finish the season as high as the number 3 team in the Eastern Conference entering the playoffs.
It's a different story. If they finish in the 4th spot, they will against the Indiana Pacers. If they are in the third spot, it's going to be against the Washington Wizards. Both teams are considerably dangerous teams to play against in the first round of the playoffs. Joel Embiid is averaging 22 points and 11 rebounds on top of close to two blocks per game this season and those numbers will be difficult to replicate especially during the playoffs. The other good news for Philadelphia is: there are other 5 players on their team who has been scoring in double figures this season: JJ Reddick, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, Robert Covington and, Marco Belinelli. Technically, the Sixers are still a well-rounded team without Joel Embiid.
There's no clear timetable for Joel Embiid's return for now but with the way Philadelphia has been playing and winning without him, there's no need to rush his recovery. The rest of the team just needs to produce more to fill in the void that is left by their prized center