Joel Embiid has been arguably the best player in the NBA this year. Just by virtue of his sheer talent, the Philadelphia 76ers are legitimate title contenders.
Unfortunately, Embiid will not be on hand for the first couple of games of the Sixers’ Eastern Conference semis playoff series against the Miami Heat due to an injury he suffered in his team’s close out victory over the Toronto Raptors in the first round.
Embiid suffered an orbital fracture and mild concussion when head coach Doc Rivers opted to leave him in the game late despite the final result being very much settled.
This week, 76ers sharpshooter Danny Green called out his coach over the decision.
“We saw him on the plane after the game and he was holding his head – it seemed pretty severe,” he said. “We didn’t know (how bad it was), there were no stitches, I saw a little scratch.
“But when it happened, he kind of wanted to go back in the game. We’re like, ‘Joel, you can’t go back in the game. We subbed you out and challenged the replay.’ Mind you, we probably should’ve pulled the plug a little earlier. But I mean, it is what it is.”
That being said, Green did offer a bit of extra context as to why Embiid wasn’t subbed out earlier.
“We were waiting for Nick (Nurse) to throw his subs in first. It is what it is, like I said. He came out, it seemed like the adrenaline, he still wanted to play,” Green continued.
“But once I think it set in and after the game, you could see in the locker room he was holding his head a lot. He was kind of a little leery, his body seemed a little weary. On the plane, he was under the covers – usually they play cards. On the bus, he kind of just laid down, covered his face, I think the lights were getting to him.”
Rivers’ coaching has come under increased scrutiny as of late. He keeps butting heads with new acquisition James Harden; the team’s younger players are seemingly turning on him; and it’s the worst kept secret in the NBA that he isn’t Daryl Morey’s preferred coaching choice.
All that being said – Rivers has options. If this thing in Philly doesn’t work out, there seems to be at least one other squad that would have him.
Someone actually agreed to willingly be with Grayson Allen. https://t.co/sslV3XeSoE
— Game 7 (@game7__) May 2, 2022
Watch this space.
If the 76ers come back and win a championship this year, then everything that came prior is moot. However, if Philly collapses, and if being without Embiid plays a part in that – don’t be surprised if Rivers’ seat gets mighty hot in the offseason.