Kyle Trimble is a licensed physical therapist here to provide NBA injury analysis. Read his NBA Injury Watch: Joel Embiid Bone Bruise.
NBA Injury Watch: Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers: Left knee bone bruise
Coming off the All-Star break, MVP contender Joel Embiid went down awkwardly following a dunk on March 12, his left knee buckling backward upon landing. He was down on the court as the stretcher came out, but Embiid was able to walk off under his own power with a noticeable limp.
The immediate concerns following a hyperextension of the knee are ACL/PCL, a bone bruise or meniscus injuries due to the shearing forces on the knee. While the knee does have some natural laxity to allow for hyperextension, the sudden weight forcing the knee back can cause significant damage.
Fortunately, MRI results from Saturday revealed no structural damage to the knee other than a deep bone bruise, leading to at least a 2-3 week absence. A bone bruise is damage to the bone tissue itself and the exact location of injury depends on the severity of the injury. It’s possible that he is dealing with a sub-periosteal hematoma. This is a slow-healing injury that simply requires rest and protection to the area resulting in varying levels of healing timelines.
The hope is that he can return quickly, but historical comparisons are not friendly. Other players to suffer a recent knee bone bruise include but not limited to:
- Kevin Durant missed 19 games in 2017
- Michael Beasley missed 17 games in 2017
- Jonathan Issac missed 31 games in 2020
- Chuma Okeke missed 16 games in 2021
If you haven’t already, find a replacement for Embiid in the short term for fantasy basketball immediately or grab backup Dwight Howard. He will be out at least 2 weeks, very likely 4 weeks with optimism. This could potentially extend even further if the injury is more severe than the team indicates. Considering how taxing the season has been, a conservative timeline may be best for optimum recovery.
With the recent news that Kevin Durant is sidelined indefinitely with his hamstring injury, Embiid’s injury evens the playing field between the Nets and Sixers in the East. My bet is that Durant comes back sooner than Embiid and allows the Nets to pull ahead for the number one seed in the East.
Kyle Trimble is a licensed physical therapist who also works as an injury spotter for Dr. David Chao. Kyle has extensive experience in outpatient orthopedics, skilled nursing, acute care hospital, and home care. He’s also a member of Bills Mafia and runs the website Banged Up Bills.
Disclaimer from Kyle: My opinions are my own. Any thoughts I have on the injuries are based on media reports, my knowledge of the injury, and speculation based on the information currently available including video and print media. This information is subject to change based on the information released by the team.