Philadelphia 76ers’ star center Joel Embiid’s hopes of retaining the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award have been dashed as he undergoes knee surgery, sidelining him for at least four weeks and putting an end to his quest for the coveted title.
Embiid, 29, who currently holds the MVP title, will miss a significant portion of the season, making it impossible for him to meet the required minimum of 65 games to retain the award. The Cameroonian sensation sustained a knee injury during last Wednesday’s match against the Golden State Warriors, prompting an MRI scan that revealed the severity of the issue.
The injury setback means Embiid will also sit out his seventh consecutive All-Star game scheduled for Sunday, 18 February, adding to the disappointment for both the player and fans alike.
Having already missed 15 out of the 76ers’ 49 matches this season, Embiid’s absence for the next four weeks will see him sidelined for an additional 11 games, limiting him to a maximum of 56 regular-season appearances.
Despite the setback, Embiid’s performance this season has been stellar, leading the NBA in scoring with an average of 35.3 points per game, surpassing even the remarkable milestone of one point per minute played. His impressive stats had placed him on track to join an elite club, with projections suggesting he could become only the second player in NBA history, after Wilt Chamberlain in 1961-62, to average at least 35 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists per game over a full season.
Embiid’s absence has also highlighted his crucial role in the 76ers’ success, with the team boasting a significantly better record when he is on the court compared to when he is sidelined. Their record of 26 wins and eight defeats with Embiid in action contrasts sharply with only four wins and 11 defeats in his absence, underscoring his importance to the team’s performance.
As Embiid begins his road to recovery, the 76ers will have to navigate the challenges ahead without their star player, while the race for the NBA MVP award intensifies with his absence from contention.