Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid will require surgery on a fractured orbital in his left eye that could see him miss out on the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Embiid suffered the injury when he collided with teammate Markelle Fultz after going for a loose ball in the second quarter of the Sixers’ 118-101 win over the New York Knicks on Wednesday.
He was later evaluated, passing the NBA’s locker room concussion assessment tool before being taken to Jefferson Hospital for further evaluation and testing. However, Embiid started experiencing symptoms of a concussion afterward and was later placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol.
The Sixers announced Thursday that Embiid will not be traveling Friday for the trip against the Atlanta Hawks and will be having surgery in his eye in the coming days.
“I guess I gotta trust “The Process” that I’ve been preaching,” Embiid wrote on Twitter after the injury. “Unfortunate freak accident but I’ll be more than fine. Injuries jokes coming in 3,2,1 #TheProcess #Two-Face.”
According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, Embiid could return to action in two to four weeks pending the results of his surgery, though there is no timetable.
He added with the first round of the playoffs beginning April 14, the 24-year-old’s participation is in jeopardy, having helped the Sixers clinch a place for the first time since 2012.
Head team physician for the Philadelphia Eagles, Peter DeLuca, M.D. told Philly.com about the types of orbital bone fractures following Embiid’s injury.
“In general there are two types of fractures that involve the orbital bone that contains the eye, a rim fracture and a blowout fracture,” DeLuca said. “The potential complications are eye related. We don’t know which one Joel has.”
“A rim fracture involves a stronger bone, and a blowout involves a thin bone that is easier to fracture. But the blowout is the more serious of the two because it has the potential for more complications if not fixed. My guess would be that Joel’s is a blowout fracture, but that’s just a guess.”
“If the blowout fracture is not treated it can affect vision, and muscle can get caught in bony fragments and affect movement. Additionally, fat around eye can get caught in the bony fragments and can cause pain or cosmetically cause the eye to look like it is down in socket.”
DeLuca also revealed completing the concussion protocol could take anywhere “from one week to four weeks,” which could see the Cameroon native miss more than the first round if the Sixers progress further.
Embiid was having a solid regular season as he averages 22.9 points, 3.2 assists and 11 rebounds per game.