PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid has a small meniscus tear in his right knee and will miss Game 5 Wednesday night against the Washington Wizards, the team announced Wednesday afternoon.
The Sixers said the injury will be managed with physical therapy and a treatment program. Embiid is considered day-to-day going forward.
"An MRI, which was reviewed by several orthopedic specialists, revealed that Joel Embiid has a small lateral meniscus tear in his right knee," the Sixers said in a statement.
Philadelphia was poised for its first sweep since 1985 in Game 4 before Embiid was hurt and the Wizards rallied to win behind 27 points from Bradley Beal.
The NBA MVP finalist wound up on the floor behind the baseline after having his shot blocked by Washington’s Robin Lopez on a drive to the basket in the first quarter.
After staying down for a moment, a wincing Embiid rose and then put his hand on his lower right back.
He remained in the game for the time being, before eventually heading to the locker room in the last minute of the period.
Embiid came into the game averaging more than a point per minute in the best-of-seven series.
He scored a postseason career-high 36 points in 28 minutes in a 29-point win for the 76ers in Game 3 on Saturday.
The Sixers reached the Eastern Conference semifinal with consecutive 50-win seasons in 2018 and 2019 and bottomed out last season when they were swept in the first round by Boston. That sparked roster changes that brought in starters Danny Green and Seth Curry and backup big man Dwight Howard. The Sixers could start Mike Scott at center and keep Howard as the backup, or shift more minutes at the five to Ben Simmons.
"Obviously," Simmons said, "we need Joel to win. He’s a big part of this team."
Embiid is in the running to become the first Sixer to win NBA MVP since Allen Iverson in 2001. Moses Malone (1982-83), Julius Erving (1980-81) and Wilt Chamberlain (who won three straight from 1965-1968) all won the NBA’s top honor.
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