Joel Embiid knee injury update: 76ers star to manage issue for rest of 2023-24 NBA season

Joel Embiid is putting together one of the most dominant seasons in NBA history, and yet it might not be enough for him to earn his second Most Valuable Player award and a spot on the All-NBA team.

The NBA implemented a new rule ahead of the 2023-24 season that requires players to appear in at least 65 games to be eligible for end-of-season awards, including MVP, Defensive Player of the Year and All-NBA honors. Embiid was mostly healthy to start the season, but he’s now dealing with a knee issue that has already cost him a handful of games.

As of Jan. 30, Embiid has appeared in 33 of a possible 45 games. It’s been said that his current knee injury is something he will have to deal with for the rest of the season.

Here’s everything you need to know about Embiid’s injury.

MORE: Breaking down Joel Embiid’s simple but unstoppable go-to move

Joel Embiid’s knee injury, explained

The first game Embiid missed with a knee injury this season came on Jan. 6, 2024. The 76ers ruled him out for their matchup with the Jazz due to left knee swelling. Embiid missed Philadelphia’s next game with the same injury. He then sat out a third straight game with left knee inflammation.

Embiid was as dominant as ever in his return. In his first five games back, he averaged 44.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists, an impressive stretch that was punctuated by a career-best 70-point performance against the Spurs. He followed it by scoring 31 points against the Pacers on Jan. 25, but it came in a loss and he appeared to tweak his knee.

Embiid wasn’t initially on the injury report for Philadelphia’s matchup with Denver on Jan. 27, but he was a late scratch because of left knee soreness. One source told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that Embiid was determined to play but “could barely jump” while warming up, prompting the medical staff to pull him.

“Not until about 20-25 to go on the clock,” 76ers head coach Nick Nurse said when he was asked when he knew Embiid couldn’t play. “He did go out to do his regular warmup and the medical care team just didn’t like what they saw and … they just decided that it was safer, much safer for him not to play today.”

On Jan. 11, Shelburne tweeted that there is “not currently a long-term concern” with Embiid’s left knee injury and that he was considered day-to-day. Shelburne provided an update on Embiid’s knee injury a few weeks later, saying it could be something he deals with for the rest of the season.

“That knee is an issue that he’s going to have to manage for the rest of the season,” Shelburne said on ESPN’s NBA Today.

Joel Embiid stats

  • 36.0 points per game
  • 11.4 rebounds per game
  • 5.8 assists per game
  • 1.8 blocks per game
  • 1.1 steals per game
  • 3.6 turnovers per game
  • 53.9 percent field goal shooting
  • 36.8 percent 3-point shooting
  • 88.3 percent free throw shooting

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