PHILADELPHIA — The last time we saw Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid on a basketball court, he was playing through a right meniscus tear that he suffered in the first round of the playoffs against the Washington Wizards. Embiid missed a game as a result of the injury, but returned for Philadelphia’s second-round matchup against the Atlanta Hawks, playing in all seven games of the series.
The knee didn’t seem to bother Embiid too much against Atlanta as he averaged 30.4 points and 12.7 rebounds in 37.4 minutes per performance over the series. However, there was some speculation about whether or not Embiid would need to undergo surgery after the season. Such a surgery never occurred as Embiid instead opted for a natural healing process. We didn’t hear much from Embiid over the offseason, but at Philadelphia’s Media Day on Monday, the big man provided a promising update on his knee.
“It’s been fine,” Embiid said of his knee. “I’ve just been working out all summer. It’s been fine, no problems. I’m getting back to where I was and I feel pretty good.”
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This is the first update we’ve received on Embiid’s knee since late July. At that time, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said that the team wasn’t worried about Embiid’s health moving forward. “I would say on Joel, he’s been in the gym,” Morey said at the time. “He was in the gym today working on his game. He has a plan with our medical staff, and we feel good about it and we are not concerned about him medically at all.”
In addition to providing an update on his health, Embiid also revealed a slight tweak that we might see in his game next season — an uptick in 3-point attempts.
“This year I’m thinking about shooting more 3s,” Embiid added in the midst of a longer quote about Ben Simmons. “Because that’s what is going to help the team. Last year I thought it helped us because we didn’t shoot a lot of 3s. People might have different views in that, but I think it goes a long way, so that’s something I’m going to do.” For reference, Embiid attempted a career-low three 3’s per game last season and converted those attempts at a career-high 37 percent clip.
Philadelphia’s success next season — and beyond — completely hinges on Embiid’s health, so the fact that he worked out on his knee all summer and feels fine is a solid sign for the Sixers. The team begins training camp on Tuesday, and Embiid is expected to be a full participant.
As a team, the Sixers have enough to worry about heading into the season with the ongoing Ben Simmons saga, so it’s a relief that they don’t have to add Embiid’s knee to the list.