Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid Out Indefinitely

Joel Embiid didn’t take part in the Sixers’ shootaround today, and the team is now listing him as out “indefinitely” after he experienced some swelling and soreness in his injured knee (Twitter links via Sixers and Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com).

Coming out of the All-Star break, the Sixers had announced that Embiid would miss at least the first four games of the second half, but it now appears that his absence will extend beyond March 1. The young center is scheduled to undergo an MRI on his knee this afternoon, per Camerato.

For the Sixers, the news comes on the heels of Friday’s announcement that No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons won’t make his NBA debut until next season, having been ruled out for the remainder of 2016/17. While Philadelphia fans may be disappointed not to see the highly-touted duo of Embiid and Simmons on the court together this season, there’s no need for the team to rush either player back, since a playoff spot is almost certainly out of reach — the Sixers are 5.5 games back of the eighth-seeded Pistons, with four other non-playoff teams ahead of them.

The Sixers provided an update on Simmons today as well, announcing (via Twitter) that he underwent a minor procedure – a bone marrow injection, per Camerato (via Twitter) – to stimulate bone growth and accelerate healing. Simmons is expected to resume training by the end of the week.

Sixers Notes: Anderson, Okafor, Bogut, Splitter

When word broke that the 76ers would likely end up receiving a pair of second-round picks from the Mavericks in the Nerlens Noel trade, rather than a first-rounder, critics were quick to rule the deal a misstep for GM Bryan Colangelo and the Sixers. However, in the view of Mavs GM Donnie Nelson, the draft compensation isn’t even the most important part of the package heading to Philadelphia — Nelson thinks Justin Anderson is that centerpiece.

“Look, they had an extremely difficult situation,” Nelson said of the Sixers, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com. “They were overstocked at the center position. You’re looking at basically the possibility of a couple-month rental, and so I think they did the best that they could with the situation they had. It was really a need position for us, and it was taking the best possible deal they could get. They like Justin Anderson a lot. He is the critical piece, and it was hard for us to give them that piece.”

David Murphy of The Philadelphia Daily News agrees with Nelson’s sentiment, writing – even before the Mavs GM spoke to reporters – that the success of the deal from the Sixers’ perspective figures to hinge on the development of Anderson.

Here’s more on the Sixers, who announced earlier today that Ben Simmons will be out for the rest of the season:

  • The trade market for Jahlil Okafor leading up to the deadline was “much more broad” than the market for Noel, but the right deal didn’t present itself, per Colangelo (Twitter links via Jake Fischer of SI.com). The Sixers GM hinted that the team will probably revisit trade talks involving Okafor at a later date.
  • Andrew Bogut won’t be with the Sixers for at least a week while dealing with personal issues, but that doesn’t preclude the two sides from negotiating a buyout during that time, says Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter links). A buyout is considered likely, so Bogut may never end up reporting to Philadelphia.
  • Colangelo said today that Tiago Splitter is hoping to get back onto the court this season and the Sixers will help him rehab, but the big man – acquired from the Hawks this week – isn’t part of the club’s long term plans (Twitter links via Fischer and Pompey). Splitter will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
  • Colangelo said today that Ersan Ilyasova will be seeking a long-term deal in free agency this summer, but wasn’t part of the Sixers’ long-term plans, which was why the club felt compelled to move him this week (Twitter link via Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com).
  • Joel Embiid wasn’t thrilled with the cagey way in which the Sixers handled updates on his knee injury, as Tom Moore of The Burlington County Times writes. “I was told I was going to kind of miss two or three weeks, so I wasn’t happy with the way it was handled,” said Embiid, who was announced as day-to-day when he first went down. “I thought keeping my name out there was going to literally have people think about me all the time instead of just saying when I was going to be back.”

Sixers Rule Ben Simmons Out For Season

The Sixers have formally announced that Ben Simmons won’t play this season. General manager Bryan Colangelo informed reporters today of the club’s decision, per Jake Fischer of SI.com (Twitter link).

A report on Thursday out of Philadelphia had suggested that Simmons’ season was in jeopardy after the result of a CT scan showed disappointing progress. According to Fischer (Twitter link), Colangelo said today that the most recent scan indicated that there’s “not full healing in the bone.” The next scan will occur in one month.

The organization has been very cautious with its No. 1 overall pick since he fractured a bone in his right foot in training camp. The original prognosis suggested Simmons had a chance to return with three months, but his NBA debut will instead be postponed until the 2017/18 season. According to Colangeo, the Sixers “will talk about” having Simmons on their Summer League team, depending on his status (Twitter link via Fischer).

Simmons is the third top pick for the Sixers to sit out his entire rookie season in the last four years. Nerlens Noel missed his entire rookie year in 2013/14 due to a torn ACL, while foot problems sidelined Joel Embiid for his first two NBA seasons. Embiid has also been out of action as of late with a knee problem, though Colangelo – who called the injury a bone bruise – said today that the injury is “progressing well.” Embiid is expected to miss at least the next four games.

Hoops Links: Lowry, Embiid, Antetokounmpo, Porzingis, Nicholson

On Sundays, we link to some of the very best work from around the basketball blogosphere. Do you have a link to a great basketball blog post – either your own or someone else’s – that you want to see featured on Hoops Rumors? Send it to us at [email protected]. Here’s this week’s rundown:

Sixers Notes: Saric, Okafor, Noel

Although a crowded frontcourt has kept the Sixers in the spotlight through the first four months of the NBA season, there are other concerns that the Philadelphia franchise will have to address heading forward. Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Inquirer decided to shine a light on some of the less discussed roster dynamics in a recent column.

One of the biggest questions that Sixers head coach Brett Brown will have to answer as the roster formally evolves from rebuilding project to actual Eastern Conference contender is what to do at the power forward spot. Currently the club starts veteran Ersan Ilyasova with rookie Dario Saric slotted in as his replacement off the bench. Saric’s play of late, however, has warranted more playing time. In nine February games, Saric has averaged 15.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.

Considering the progress that the Croatian has made, general manager Bryan Colangelo will need to determine whether he trusts Saric enough to let the 29-year-old Ilyasova and his expiring $8.4MM walk this summer. Another challenge the club’s brass will have to face is to truly assess the value of backup big man Richaun Holmes. Holmes has impressed, averaging nearly 15 points and 10 rebounds per 36 minutes, but it’s unclear whether the team would be comfortable with him as Philly’s primary backup center.

Another thing that the Sixers will have to address in the near future is adding perimeter offense. It’s imperative, Cooney writes, that the team add shooters who can open the floor for Joel Embiid and eventually Ben Simmons.

There’s more out of Philadelphia:

  • Although nothing has transpired yet, there have been plenty of trade talks surrounding Jahlil Okafor. Although the second-year center’s name has come up in rumors all season long, he was held out of two games last week as the franchise engaged in discussions with “10 or 11 teams”. Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Okafor grew up playing against Anthony Davis of the Pelicans and would be particularly interested in playing in his hometown for the Bulls. Both New Orleans and Chicago are among the teams with whom Philadelphia has discussed a possible trade.
  • For what it’s worth, Joel Embiid believes that the Sixers could utilize all of their assets, including Jahlil Okafor. As Pompey writes in a separate Philadelphia Inquirer piece, Embiid suggested as much on Saturday. “We got a lot of talent, and I feel we can use everybody if we want to get to where we want to,” Embiid said.
  • Once at the center of trade rumors, Sixers center Nerlens Noel has noticed a change in culture, writes Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. “It’s a lot more fun, a lot more enjoyable, and it honestly feels like a whole new culture,” Noel said. The big man is aware of the logjam at his position, however. “[Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor and I] are all genuine, and we’re all young men who just want to play well in this league and see each other do well at the same time.”

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Raptors, Oakley, Lin

Sixers center Joel Embiid claims he’s “more surprised than everybody else” how well this season has gone after he was sidelined two seasons by foot injuries. During the interview with ESPN Radio, Embiid admits he entertained thoughts of retiring during those lost seasons. “I was such in a dark place, I wanted to quit basketball,” Embiid said.  “I just wanted to go back home and just leave everything behind.” Embiid pines for the Rookie of the Year award, saying it would be validation for the sacrifices he made to get back on the court. He’s hopeful of returning soon after the All-Star break after missing the last 11 games with what he describes as a left knee bone bruise, though he reportedly has a partial meniscus tear.

In other news around the Atlantic Division:

  • The  Raptors do not want to part with young assets now that they’ve made a big move by acquiring power forward Serge Ibaka, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. Toronto would prefer to hold onto Delon Wright, Jakob Poeltl, Lucas Nogueira, Pascal Siakam, Norm Powell and Fred VanVleet, Smith continues. They could still package Jared Sullinger‘s expiring contract, a 2017 first-rounder and one of their backup point guards to make another move, Smith adds.
  • Charles Oakley doubts his issues with Knicks owner James Dolan will ever be resolved, Newsday’s Jim Baumbach relays via a Sports Illustrated interview. Despite a meeting with commissioner Adam Silver and Dolan earlier this week, Oakley is still fuming over his forcible removal from Madison Square Garden and arrest on February 8th.  “My life is going to change a lot because it’s just like getting a DUI sometime or going to jail for murder,” he told SI. “It’s something on my record. If you Google my name, it’s going to come up. And that hurts.”
  • Nets point guard Jeremy Lin is expected to return to action immediately after the All-Star break, Brian Lewis of the New York Post tweets. Lin practiced on Tuesday without any setbacks, according to NetsDaily.com. Lin’s season has been wrecked by hamstring woes. Signed to a three-year, $36MM contract last summer to be the team’s No. 1 point guard, Lin has appeared in just 12 games.

Eastern Notes: Gibson, Embiid, Booker

With the exception of Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson is the Bulls‘ most valuable trade asset, Bobby Marks of The Vertical writes. Gibson is making $8.95MM in the final year of his contract and Marks cites the power forward’s contract along with his tremendous durability as the reasons why his value is so high.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo said that he doesn’t expect Joel Embiid‘s knee injury to linger long-term, though he added that the team’s medical staff will ultimately make the call on when he returns to the court, as Brian Seltzer of NBA.com relays. “If the injury presents as asymptomatic, and he can show he’s healthy and able to play basketball, there’s no reason he shouldn’t play,” Colangelo said. “I don’t think there’s any potential long-term effects. This is not thought to be a severe injury. It’s thought to be a complicated injury.”
  • Trevor Booker was recently moved to the bench and he’s handled coach’s decision extremely well, Zach Braziller of The New York Post writes. Booker felt it was important to show his younger teammates how to act in the face of adversity. “We got some younger guys that’s new to it,” Booker said. “For me, being that leader, showing them different things, that’s what the young guys need.” The Nets brought in the power forward to mentor the team’s youth and to help build a winning culture, as I detailed in the inaugural edition of Fantasy Hoops.

Atlantic Notes: Lowry, Okafor, Knicks, Simmons

Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry expressed a desire for unspecified changes after the club squandered a double-digit, fourth-quarter lead to the Pistons on Sunday night, according to Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports. Lowry told Lewenberg that “Something gotta give, something gotta change” following the 102-101 home loss, adding that “I have an idea” what should change but wouldn’t disclose it publicly. Lowry, who can opt out and become a free agent this summer, added that “I’m starting to get worried” because “it’s not going the way we’re supposed to be going.”  (Twitter links). Lowry’s comments reflect the feelings of backourt partner DeMar DeRozan, who said he would welcome some help for the stretch drive. The Raptors have been spinning their wheels lately, going 4-10 over the last 14 games while dropping to fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings. Their two best players are now putting the onus on the front office to make a bold move before the trade deadline.  Lewenberg also tweets that it’s the first time this season that he’s sensed the locker room beginning to splinter.

In other developments around the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers forward Jahlil Okafor was not on the team plane during its flight to Charlotte, N.C., on Sunday, an indication that a trade could be imminent, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. A source told Pompey that a potential trade could not be finalized until Monday, when the league’s legal staff can review paperwork. The Pelicans, Bulls and Trail Blazers are apparently the potential trade partners for Okafor. The Nuggets and Sixers reportedly halted talks after Denver reached a trade agreement with the Blazers to acquire big man Mason Plumlee.
  • The controversies swirling around the Knicks will make it more difficult for them to attract impact free agents, Al Iannazzone of Newsday argues. New York already struck out in its attempts to land top free agents in past summers and the circus-like atmosphere will only hinder its future efforts, especially since owner James Dolan seems committed to have team president Phil Jackson finish out his contract, Iannazzone continues. Rather than focusing on trying to trade Carmelo Anthony, Jackson should look to move pending free agents Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings, as well as expendable big man Kyle O’Quinn, before the trade deadline, Iannazzone adds.
  • Evaluating the pairing of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid remains a goal for the Sixers this season, Jonathan Tannenwald of the Philadelphia Inquirer relays. GM Bryan Colangelo indicated in a radio interview that it would aid the front office in deciding which moves to make this offseason, Tannenwald adds.  “If it does play out where they both play together, and we have a good sample size, a body of work to base some further decisions on, it certainly will help us as we move into the draft and into free agency this summer,” Colangelo told 97.5 The Fanatic.

Joel Embiid Has Torn Meniscus In Left Knee

Joel Embiid has a torn meniscus in his left knee, Derek Bodner reports on his website. It’s a low-grade tear and Embiid is not expected to require surgery as a result of it.

Embiid has missed 11 out of the team’s last 12 games, including tonight’s contest against the Heat. It’s likely that he remains sidelined through the All-Star break, a source tells Bodner.

Bodner adds that the tear was discovered after the Sixers’ win over the Blazers on January 20. During that contest, Embiid landed awkwardly and left the game in the third quarter. Although the big man underwent an MRI after the game and it revealed the diagnosis, it’s possible the tear could have been a pre-existing condition.

Embiid played a week after receiving the diagnosis in a nationally televised game against the Rockets. A source tells Bodner that Embiid was experiencing no pain or discomfort at the time.

Earlier today, Embiid addressed the local media, as Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer relays.

“I’m not healthy,” Embiid said. “I think my [left] knee [has a] bone bruise. It’s been on and off working out. It swells up a little bit, and then it kind of slows down. Like I said, it’s all about patience. But I’m not healthy.”

Embiid attended rapper Meek Mill’s concert on Friday night in Philadelphia where he danced shirtless on stage. He was asked about that event during today’s media session and he said that today was the best he has felt in the past two weeks. He stressed that patience is key in regards to him returning to the court. “I missed two years and we had a lot of patience,” he said. “This is not the time to lose patience.”

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Acy, DeRozan

The Sixers were without rookie Joel Embiid Sunday night as the 7’2″ center sat to rest a sore left knee. Now he’s listed as questionable for Monday’s game, writes Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Just last week Embiid sat for three straight games nursing a bruise on the same left knee but returned in dramatic fashion with a 32-point showing when the Sixers played the Rockets on Friday night.

Asked if the big man returned prematurely, Sixers head coach Brett Brown spoke confidently of the team’s approach. “No, I don’t think so,” Brown said. “I think you end up going with the doctors’ advice.”

Embiid didn’t make the trip to Chicago for Philly’s Sunday night matchup with the Bulls, opting instead to undergo treatment at the team’s practice facility.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division tonight:

  • Considering the headlines that have come out of New York this month, Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek is well aware of the fact that Carmelo Anthony is in charge of his own fate. “He has control,” Hornacek told Marc Berman of the New York Post. “[…] At the end, he has the final say. He’s going to keep playing for us, and guys have to put all that stuff aside and keep playing.”
  • After two successful 10-day stints with the Nets, Quincy Acy officially has two years of job security. The forward agreed to a two-year deal after proving that he can be a source of physicality and defense for the Brooklyn franchise, writes Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “We’ve been pleased with how he’s adapted,” said head coach Kenny Atkinson. “We like his versatility, how he brings a toughness. And his perimeter shooting is obviously intriguing.” In 15 games of action, Acy has shot .480 from behind the arc.
  • After three games on the sidelines nursing a sprained ankle, DeMar DeRozan made his return for the Raptors on Sunday. The shooting guard played 36 minutes for Toronto but, according to Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun, looked slow out of the gates.
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