Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid will reportedly need surgery on his ailing right thumb, but according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, he's going to wait to get it until after the Sixers' season is over.
Joel Embiid will require surgery to address the ligament tear in his right thumb, but that procedure will wait until after the Sixers' season, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 24, 2022
Embiid has been battling a thumb injury, which head coach Doc Rivers said Sunday was indeed a torn ligament.
Doc Rivers says Joel Embiid’s MRI confirmed the ligament tear in his right thumb but that nothing changes in terms of Embiid’s availability or treatment.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) April 24, 2022
To the relief of every Sixers fan on the planet, neither the confirmation of the injury nor the surgery report will affect Embiid's availability for the remainder of the playoffs. The Sixers are up 3-1 on the Toronto Raptors, but they squandered a chance for a sweep in Saturday's 110-102 loss.
Embiid is no stranger to playing through pain in the postseason. He sustained a tear of his right meniscus in the opening round of last year's playoffs, but missed just one game. He was back on the floor for the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Atlanta Hawks, playing in all seven games of what would end up being a painful series loss for the Sixers.
So while this isn't a new situation for Embiid or Philly, it's still far from ideal. Just like last year, the feeling is that the Sixers just can't win without their homegrown star on the floor. A hurt Embiid is better than no Embiid, but it means that James Harden and Tyrese Maxey need to take larger roles, and guys like Danny Green and Tobias Harris need to increase their effectiveness and try to pick up the slack.
Starting with Game 5 on Monday, there are anywhere between 13 and 24 games between the Sixers and the end of the finals. That's a lot of games for Embiid to play with an injured thumb. Philly has no choice but to make it work if it hopes to even make it past the current round.
The Sixers-Raptors series shifts to Philly again on Monday, with Game 5 starting at 8 p.m. ET.