Joel Embiid will have surgery Friday morning to repair a torn radial collateral ligament in the ring finger of his left hand and will be re-evaluated in one to two weeks.
Without their big man, the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Boston Celtics, 109-98, Thursday night, during which, the determination for his surgery was made by the organization.
Unfortunately in NBA circles, the injury news comes as no surprise, as Embiid has played in 189 of the possible 448 regular season games during the past five years as a member of the 76ers. But when he’s available, Embiid possesses talent that could lead to him being the best player in the league. Standing at seven-foot tall and weighing 250 pounds, Embiid is a presence in the paint, and can stretch the defense with three-point shooting. All of that offensive talent, and he’s one of the fiercest rim protectors in the league.
But, with the injuries piling up, maybe the right move for the 76ers is to trade high on the big man. The Ben Simmons trade rumors have run amuck recently, and maybe the issue isn’t Simmons, but the uncertain future of Embiid. If the 76ers present him as a trade asset to teams, multiple draft picks and star players would be tossed towards the 76ers. Teams fighting for relevancy would trade future draft picks for a chance to sell tickets, while contenders would trade their draft picks and young talent for a shot now at a championship.
He’s the perfect trade piece. And yet, he isn’t.
Embiid represents the 76ers, and the city of Philadelphia. Through time and perseverance, Embiid has rehabbed his injuries and came out as a replica of Frankenstein’s monster (Frankenstein being Sam Hinkie in this instance). “The Process” started with Embiid and it ends with Embiid. To trade him would be to trade the heart of the city.
But, sometimes, in order to achieve greatness, sacrifice is necessary.