Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid undergoes thumb surgery

ByTim Bontemps ESPN logo
Tuesday, May 31, 2022
((AP Photo/Matt Slocum))
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia 76ers announced Tuesday morning that Joel Embiid spent his Memorial Day undergoing surgery to repair the right thumb he sprained during the team's first-round playoff series, and that he also had a procedure done to fix an injury to his left index finger.

Neither issue is expected to impact Embiid's availability for the start of training camp in September.

The thumb surgery was not a surprise, as both the 76ers and Embiid said it would happen from the moment he suffered the injury during Philadelphia's victory in Game 3 of its series against the Toronto Raptors.

The left index finger injury, however, wasn't previously disclosed.

Embiid isn't expected to need surgery on the other injury he suffered in the playoffs, the facial fracture that happened late in the fourth quarter of Game 6 in the Toronto series when he caught an elbow from Raptors forward Pascal Siakam.

"I don't regret it because it's life," Embiid said after Philadelphia's season ended in a loss at home to the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, when asked if he regretted not making it through the playoffs healthy due to a pair of fluke injuries.

"It happens. You just got to deal with it. It sucks. Not, not looking for any excuses. But those are just the facts. It sucks. I don't think anybody will believe that I was 100 percent. So it does suck to get to the stage and not be yourself, not being able to do what you want and your body not allowing you to just be yourself. So it sucks, but I have no regrets."

Embiid finished second to Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic in the voting for the NBA's Most Valuable Player award for a second straight season after becoming the first center to lead the NBA in scoring since Shaquille O'Neal in 2000, finishing with a career-high 30.6 points per game while also playing in a career-high 68 games.

The playoff injuries, however, helped stop the 76ers from getting out of the second round for the fourth time in five years, extending the team's streak of not making it to the Eastern Conference finals or beyond since 2001.

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