Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid underwent surgery to repair the torn ligament in his right thumb on Monday, per the team. Embiid also underwent a procedure to repair an existing injury to his left index finger. Embiid is expected to make a full recovery from both procedures, and neither is expected to impact his availability for training camp for the 2022-23 season, which is obviously good news for Philadelphia.
Embiid was able to play through these injuries — in addition to a broken orbital bone in his face — during the postseason, which is a testament to his toughness. However, by the end of Philadelphia’s second-round series with the Miami Heat, Embiid was clearly being hampered by the various issues. During that series, the big man explained how he felt like he’ was fighting a “lose-lose” battle by being out on the floor, but not being at full strength.
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“It’s just about pain tolerance. This is a lose-lose situation for me,” Embiid said. “If I don’t play, I probably get called soft. If I play and I play bad, [they] probably come up with a bunch of stuff that’s, I guess he’s just not good enough. So it’s all about trying to stay, not get too high or too low, just going out there and really try to dig very deep and try to do whatever I can.
“If I say that I’m feeling a certain way, it’s probably looked at as excuses,” Embiid added. “If I don’t say anything, it’s probably looked [at] as, well, he must be fine. I don’t have an answer. Y’all know what’s going on, I’m really just pushing through it.”
Despite Embiid’s ability to persevere, the Sixers still lost to the Heat in six games, marking the fourth time in the past five years that they’ve lost in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Even though the Sixers were unable to advance to their first conference finals appearance since 2001, Embiid still had a great individual season. He became the first center to lead the NBA in scoring (30.6 points per game) since Shaquille O’Neal in 2000, and he also became the first center to average over 30 points per performance since Moses Malone in 1982. For the second straight season, Embiid finished second in MVP voting behind Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic.