Joel Embiid’s return didn’t go as planned on Tuesday night.
The Philadelphia 76ers star left early and had to limp off the court at the Chase Center in the fourth quarter after he sustained an awkward leg injury late in their 119-107 loss to the Golden State Warriors. Embiid had missed the 76ers’ last two games with a knee injury, but made his return to the lineup on Tuesday in San Francisco.
Embiid was fighting for a loose ball with just more than four minutes left in the game when he ended up on his back on the court. Suddenly, Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga fell back on him and landed directly on his left knee — which caused Embiid to scream out in pain.
Joel Embiid went to the locker room after getting tangled up with Jonathan Kumingapic.twitter.com/Jq0XuAGpPO
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) January 31, 2024
Embiid eventually stood up and limped slowly off the court directly back to the locker room. He didn’t return, though the Warriors held a double digit lead at that point in the game and held on to take the 12-point win.
Embiid finished with 14 points and seven rebounds in what was clearly his worst outing of the season. He shot 5-of-18 from the field. He went to the locker room multiple times during the game, too, and was clearly bothered by his knee.
Specifics about his latest injury are not yet known. 76ers coach Nick Nurse said that the injury is unrelated to what kept Embiid out from the last two games, and that he would undergo an MRI to determine the severity.
"Obviously medical cleared him ... He said he's a little rusty, he hadn't been on the court for five days, but he said he felt good [before the game]," Nurse said.
Embiid was a late scratch from the 76ers’ game against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday due to a knee injury, which prompted a league investigation. According to ESPN, however, Embiid “could barely jump” during warmups ahead of that game at Ball Arena. Embiid then missed Monday night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center, too. He was cleared to return hours before Tuesday’s game in San Francisco.
Embiid entered Tuesday’s game averaging a career-high 36 points and 11.4 rebounds per game this season. He's played in 34 games this season, and can only miss five more the rest of the way in order to be eligible for the league’s end-of-season awards, including MVP.
Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 37 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in the win. He shot 8-of-13 from behind the arc, too. Kuminga added 26 points, and Andrew Wiggins finished with 23 points.
Tobias Harris led Philadelphia with 26 points and 10 rebounds in the loss. Furkan Korkmaz added 19 points off the bench, and Kelly Oubre finished with 15 points. The 76ers have now lost four straight games, and have dropped to 29-16 on the season. They will wrap up a five-game road trip on Thursday night against the Utah Jazz before returning to Philadelphia this weekend.