Embiid Set for Shoulder MRI, Joins Simmons on Bench
Philadelphia Already Facing Uphill Battle
The Philadelphia 76ers are already facing an uphill battle in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Currently looking up at four other teams, Philadelphia can ill-afford to be without both Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
They may not have a choice.
Embiid Suffers Left Shoulder Sprain
While Simmons remains out with a nerve impingement in his lower back, Embiid was supposed to put this 76ers team on his back and lift them above the likes of the Heat. After suffering a left shoulder sprain in the first quarter of Wednesday’s game against the Cavaliers, Philly could now be without Embiid as well.
The injury likely occurred when Embiid collided with Cavs center Ante Zizic. The play resulted in a foul, which sent Embiid to the line. While taking his free-throw shots, Embiid was in obvious pain when lifting his arms.
Embiid will have an MRI Thursday to determine the severity of the injury and the timetable for his return. The 76ers could now be left without their All-Star guard and All-Star center for an extended period of time.
76ers Without Embiid, Simmons
Without Embiid and Simmons on the floor, much of the team’s ability to win games will fall on the shoulders of Tobias Harris.
Embiid currently leads Philadelphia with 23.3 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. Simmons has added 16.7 points, 8.2 assists, and 7.8 rebounds per game this season.
Harris Is Only Healthy Player In Top 3 Scorers
Harris appears to be the only healthy player among the 76ers’ top three scorers at the moment. The forward is averaging 18.9 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
After the trio of stars on the Philadelphia roster, Josh Richardson is the fourth-leading scorer with 14.1 points per game. That’s where the falloff in scoring production begins, as Al Horford is next on the list with 11.6 points per game.
In addition to offensive production, Embiid’s defensive presence will be sorely missed if the 76ers will have to play without their All-Star big man.
Why Philly’s Title Hopes May Have Just Been Dashed
If Embiid’s MRI reveals any sort of injury that will keep the center sidelined for an extended period of time, we could very well have just seen Philly’s title hopes dissipate. Here’s why.
The 76ers currently sit fifth in the Eastern Conference with a record of 36-23. They trail the 50-8 Bucks, 42-16 Raptors, 41-17 Celtics, and 36-22 Heat. While Philadelphia will surely make the playoffs, chasing that many teams is a huge problem for this team.
Thus far, the 76ers have one of the best home records in the league with a mark of 27-2. However, they also own a dismal record of 9-21 on the road.
A 30-game sample size is enough to tell us that Philadelphia is a mediocre team when playing away from home. Because of that fact, the 76ers desperately need home-court advantage if they’ll have a chance to take down the likes of Toronto, Boston, or Milwaukee in the playoffs.
If the 76ers are without Embiid and Simmons for an extended period of time, they’ll have almost no shot at catching that trio of teams, all of which they trail by five games or more.
After starting the season with championship aspirations, the 76ers now own the fifth-best odds (+800) of winning the Eastern Conference.