It looked like the league’s MVP favorite was hobbled late in the Sixers loss to the Phoenix Suns. Embiid yet again outplayed Deandre Ayton of the Suns to a tune of 37 points but came down on the foot of a Suns player in the fourth quarter. It clearly bothered Embiid the rest of the way. There is no word on the severity of the injury, in all likelihood it is minor. It does raise the question though, can the Sixers actually afford to lose Embiid due to injury?
For the remainder of the season, the answer is yes.
Obviously, come playoff time the Sixers are not nearly the same team without Embiid as they are with him. Embiid is the league MVP for a reason and he is in the midst of one of the best seasons any Sixers player has ever put together, but they don’t need him to carry the team the rest of the way.
Losing Embiid for the remainder of the season would definitely not be ideal but the Sixers have a relatively easy remainder of the schedule. The Sixers next couple of games are against the Bucks, Pistons, Hornets, Cavaliers, Pacers, Raptors, Pacers again and Pistons again. Even without Embiid, most of these games should be wins.
No one would knock a short handed Sixers team for losing against the Bucks and the Cavaliers have proven to be pretty frisky themselves. Other than that, it should be smooth sailing for the Sixers with or without Embiid.
It certainly would hurt to have Embiid miss time building chemistry in an offense with James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and Tobias Harris, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. The Sixers should air on the side of caution when it comes to their superstar center the rest of the way.
Last year proved that being first place in the Eastern Conference does not guarantee anything come playoff time. While home field advantage throughout the playoffs would be a nice thing, it isn’t necessary. This is not the Sixers team of the past, the team has solved their road woes in recent years as the Sixers are 25-11 away from Wells Fargo Center this season.
From here until the playoffs, the Sixers number one priority should be Embiid’s health. If Embiid is not 100% healthy he should not see the floor. Pairing Embiid and Harden was definitely a big factor in bringing Harden to Philly, but it was also to provide some insurance should Embiid miss any time. For the first time in a long time, losing Embiid wouldn’t be the end of the world.
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