PHILADELPHIA — Joel Embiid can forget about winning a second NBA MVP award.
The 76ers can only hope Embiid can make some sort of recovery and return this season from the procedure he’s set to undergo this week to correct an injury to the lateral meniscus in his left knee.
The 76ers did not say on Sunday night how much time Embiid was expected to miss. Philadelphia should have a clear idea on Embiid’s recovery timetable after the surgery.
But there is no doubt, given the nature of the injury, that Embiid should be expected to miss a significant amount of time.
Embiid was named an Eastern Conference starter for the NBA All-Star Game later this month, the seventh time in his career he made the team. The 76ers have a three-game homestand this week that opens Monday against Dallas, only the start of an extended absence for a team that has slumped without him — the 76ers are 4-10 without Embiid this season.
Winner of two straight NBA scoring titles, Embiid hurt his left knee Tuesday night in a loss to the Golden State Warriors. He had already been hampered by knee injuries this season that cost him considerable time. He has missed 14 games this season, all but ending his chances of being eligible for a second straight MVP award. The new collective bargaining agreement requires players, in most instances, to play in 65 regular-season games to be eligible for awards such as MVP or the All-NBA teams.
When healthy, Embiid has continued to perform at an MVP level. He is the NBA’s leading scorer at 35.3 points per game and is averaging 11.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists. He scored a franchise-record 70 points to go along with 18 rebounds on Jan. 22 in a 133-124 victory over San Antonio.
“We had some shaky performances,” 76ers coach Nick Nurse said last week. “Then we kind of got in a groove and had some good ones. We got a bunch of good road wins without him. We kind of knew, we’ve got to be able to survive without him.”
The 76ers are 30-18 and in fifth place in the Eastern Conference with two games left before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
Embiid said last month he wasn’t concerned with another MVP. He just wanted to help the 76ers win their first NBA championship since 1983.
“I’ve already done it,” Embiid said. “If I have a chance to get a second one, I’ll do it. I’m not going to force myself or push for it. My game is always going to speak for itself. We’re winning. That’s the main thing. We’ve got to keep winning and you put in the stats to be in the (MVP) conversation that’s great, too. But at the end of the day, if there’s something going on, and I can’t meet the requirement for the amount of games played to qualify for that, then so be it.”
Embiid leads the NBA with three 50-point games this season, while his nine 40-point games also leads the league.
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