Is Embiid playing injured because Sixers are without Simmons?
As if the 76ers season was not off to rocky start with the Ben Simmons drama and losing a winnable game in their home opener, now Sixers fans anxiety is going to get elevated with the latest news from ESPN Senior NBA Writer/Reporter Ramona Shelburne. Earlier today on ESPN's "NBA Today show, Shelburne said she spoke with Joel Embiid and the news is concerning:
Shelburne has a history of candid conversations with Joel Embiid so this news is eye opening and concerning for everyone. The part of this report that stands out to me the most is this part:
"(Embiid is) playing because Ben Simmons is not playing and (the Sixers) need one of them on the court and (Joel) wants to show leadership; At this moment, you don't want to fall behind (in the standings) to where you cannot come back - The idea with Embiid is he lost out on the MVP last year because he did not play in quite enough games (and) doesn't want to do that again this year....There is a sense that maybe he should sit a game or two to get that knee right because it's a meniscus injury that flared up after knocking knees with (Jonas) Valanciunas."
Embiid only played in 51 games last year and that is tied for the third most games he has ever played in a season. Joel has a history of wanting to play through injuries and the Sixers' staff have gone out of their way to try to protect him from making injuries worse.
If Embiid is feeling more pressure to play, this gets back to what I wrote about earlier today when ESPN NBA Analyst Tim Legler asked how long will Daryl Morey wait to make a move - If Joel is playing hurt and needs to rest, other guys need to pick up their game or the 76ers Front Office needs to get more help. You need Joel Embiid for the full season and playoffs, not just games when Ben Simmons or others are not available. Joel said himself that he "needs help" so the pressure Embiid is feeling to play needs to be redirected to Daryl Morey, Elton Brand, Doc Rivers and Sixers front office to get him that help!