The Joel Embiid injury saga continues to take more twists and turns than a soap opera.
How it ends is anybody’s best guess.
The 76ers obviously hope that Embiid will go on to have a stellar career and ultimately lead them to a championship.
For now, it’s about getting Embiid healthy. And that’s no easy task.
Embiid was the Sixers’ first round selection (No. 3 overall) in the 2014 NBA Draft but missed the entire season with a stress fracture in his foot. He had surgery and then sat out the whole season.
Just when it looked as if Embiid would join Nerlens Noel and rookie Jahlil Okafor on the court this season, it was determined last month that the bone was healing at a slower level than the team expected.
A second surgery was recommended after a series of meetings with the organization, doctors and Embiid’s family. He’ll miss a second full season in 2015-16.
How about now?
Reports have surfaced that Embiid broke the same bone in his foot.
“I’m very concerned and I’m very disappointed in the Sixers,” Former Sixers star forward Charles Barkley said in an interview on Comcast SportsNet. “I don’t know all the ins and outs. I don’t understand how you do that surgery and you’re not checking in periodically. You wait a whole year before you realize the surgery wasn’t successful. Maybe I’m just wrong, but it seems to me like every couple of months, they should have been doing something to check on his foot to see how it’s progressing.
“I don’t understand how you wait an entire year and then realize his foot is not healing properly. I have to blame the Sixers for that fiasco.”
If there’s a positive to take away from this situation, it’s the fact the Sixers were able to pick Okafor. Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russell went to the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 2 and that left Okafor for the Sixers one selection later.
Since Embiid is out again, Okafor will have a fantastic opportunity to gain experience this season.
“You have to be concerned,” Barkley told CSN of Embiid’s injury. “But I still like (Jahlil). I thought he was one of the best players in the draft. With the Embiid thing, there’s nothing they can do about that. They just have to wait and see. With the Lakers taking Russell, (the Sixers) got very fortunate to get another big guy to go with Nerlens. It worked out for the Sixers.”
Whether Embiid works out in the long run remains to be seen. He’s still a young player, but missing his first two seasons will set him behind. He’ll have to overcome physical and mental hurdles as well.
Just like the Sixers’ rebuilding process, it’s going to be a waiting game. In more ways than one.