Joel Embiid exits Sixers game with knee injury

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) reacts after an injury during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Friday, March 12, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Joel Embiid will undergo an MRI soon. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, considered by many to be frontrunner for the NBA MVP award, exited Friday’s game with an apparent left knee injury.

The injury appeared to occur as Embiid landed after a dunk, colliding with Washington Wizards guard Garrison Matthews in the paint and spinning into the air until his full body weight came down on his knee, which bent backwards.

Embiid remained down the court in obvious pain for a while. While a stretcher was wheeled out to take him off the court, he was eventually able to walk off the court under his own power, though with a noticeable limp.

The Sixers later announced the Embiid would not return to the game, while ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the big man will undergo an MRI on what the team called a hyperextended left knee.

Sixers coach Doc Rivers told reporters after the game that he would not speculate on the severity of Embiid’s injury, but will have more information on Saturday.

A significant injury for Embiid would have a ripple effect in both the race for control of the Eastern Conference and in the MVP race. The Sixers currently hold a half-game lead over the Brooklyn Nets for the top seed in the East, while Yahoo Sports senior NBA insider Chris Haynes has Embiid ranked as the top candidate for the MVP award.

Entering Friday, Embiid was averaging a career-high 30.2 points per game on 52.1 percent shooting (41.6 percent from deep) with 11.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.4 blocks per game. He was voted a starter in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, but missed the game, as well as the Sixers’ game on Thursday, due to exposure to COVID-19.

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