Facial Fracture Requires Season-Ending Surgery for Joel Embiid

March 30, 2018 | insideinjuries | No Comments joel embiid eye

It looks like the Sixers will have to finish out the regular season without the Process. Big man Joel Embiid got knocked pretty hard in the face after getting tangled up with Markelle Fultz on Wednesday. He was taken to a local hospital as a precautionary measure, and the Sixers thought they were in the clear when initial X-rays came back negative. Unfortunately, further testing revealed both a concussion and an orbital fracture. Embiid is expected to undergo surgery to repair the fracture and will miss the next 2-4 weeks.

This is a huge blow to the Sixers’ playoff chances. The Sixers look like a top three team in the East when they have Embiid on the court, but they look like a subpar .500 team when he’s on the bench. We won’t know the exact recovery time until after he undergoes surgery and the doctor’s determine the severity of the fracture. A two week recovery time would put Embiid’s return at the start of the postseason. A four week absence would mean that Embiid would miss most of the first round. It seems unlikely that Philadelphia could make it past the first round without him.

The big concern here is that this is Embiid’s second orbital fracture. He suffered a left orbital fracture in college, and it was known that if he suffered another fracture, he would need surgery. This lends us to believe that his recovery time will lean more towards four weeks.

This might sounds like a lengthy recovery time compared to many other players with facial fractures, but it is more severe. It also comes with more risk because it protects the eye. If he were to take another blow to the face, he could risk permanent damage to the eye. A mask will certainly help, but it isn’t a perfect solution. He needs time for the fracture to heal following surgery.

The only possible good news here is that this isn’t an injury to Embiid’s knee or foot. He’s miraculously been able to stay “relatively” healthy for the first 73 games of the season, and this does appear to be a freak injury. If Embiid had injured his troublesome foot or knee, it could have had career-altering consequences.

Embiid will almost certainly wear a mask for the first few games after his return. A mask will affect his vision/visibility, but he should still be able to play if the Sixers are still in it. Most players hate playing with a mask (i.e. Kyrie Irving) but Embiid has done it before. Embiid will also have to clear the league’s concussion protocol before he can return to action and will be at risk of suffering another head injury. 

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