The Philadelphia 76ers saw their entire season flash before their eyes when Joel Embiid crashed hard to the floor during the third quarter of Philly’s game against the Washington Wizards. Embiid, the leading scorer for the 76ers and current favorite to win the NBA MVP, suffered a knee bone contusion injury and should miss anywhere between two and three weeks.

Joel Embiid knee injury Philadelphia 76ers Sixers Philly Out
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid moments after his leg buckled after a dunk against the Washington Wizards in Washington, DC. (Image: Brad Mills/USA Today Sports)

Fans from South Philly to the Main Line to South Jersey all unleashed a collective sigh of relief when Embiid stood up and limped off the floor after writhing in pain on the court for several tense minutes.

At the time, Embiid left the game with a hyper-extended knee. Embiid had an emergency MRI on Friday night, which revealed his previously surgically-repaired knee was intact. Team doctors diagnosed him with a bone bruise.

Embiid did not finish the game due to the injury, but he still posted solid numbers with 23 points on an efficient 8-for-11 shooting in just 20 minutes of action.

The 76ers held on to defeat the Washington Wizards 127-101 and improved to 26-12 on the season. Shake Milton and Furkan Korkmaz both tallied 18 points off the bench in the victory. Washington’s Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook combined for only 44 points in the loss.

Embiid Down, Howard In

Embiid posted a magnificent first half averaging 29.9 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. He surpassed LeBron James as the betting favorite to win the 2021 NBA MVP at +200 odds, according to DraftKings.

Doc Rivers will tap Embiid’s backup, Dwight Howard, to step up for the next two weeks. Little-used Tony Bradley is the only other center on the roster. Backup power forward Mike Scott could see some time in the big-man role, along with current power forward Tobias Harris.

“Listen, it’s a long season,” said Doc Rivers after the game. “At the end of the day, hopefully it’s not something where we lose him, obviously. But our guys will be good. We’ll be ready.”

Two weeks from now, the 76ers will be in the middle of a five-game road trip with four games against some of the best teams in the Western Conference (Golden State Warriors, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, and Denver Nuggets). If Embiid had not healed from the knee injury and does not travel with the team on the western swing, he could get extra rest and rejoin the team when they return to Philadelphia at the end of March.

Embiid and teammate Ben Simmons were selected to the All-Star Team but were forced to sit out  due to health protocols after their barber came down with COVID-19. Embiid was slated to start for Team Durant, but Zion Williamson filled in for him at center.

Philly Sixers Futures Betting

The 76ers are the top team in the Eastern Conference, but hold a single game lead over the Brooklyn Nets. Without Embiid for the next two weeks, the 76ers will be hard-pressed to try to stay competitive without their starting center.

The 76ers are +1200 odds to win the 2021 NBA Championship, according to a recent update by DraftKings. The 76ers are also involved in a super-tight race to win the Atlantic Division with the Brooklyn Nets.