Joel Embiid feels OK.
“My hand got tangled inside my leg as I was reaching for the ball,” Embiid said. “Nothing happened, I feel great. I kind of hit my knee on the floor. It happened, but I feel great.”
The fall didn’t look good when it happened. Embiid was driving against Tyrone Wallace when Wallace reached in for a steal. Embiid began to move toward the ball and fell. Embiid stayed down on the floor, lying on his back with his right leg bent in the air and banging on his right knee with his fist.
Embiid left the court on his own with 7:33 left, went to the locker room with the trainer shortly thereafter, and returned to the game less than three minutes later. Embiid said he did not undergo an x-ray nor did he receive treatment during that trip.
He also said he was not experiencing pain or swelling after logging a total of 34 minutes on the second night of a back-to-back. Embiid was affected by fatigue late in the fourth, only the second time in his career he’s played in consecutive games. He still finished with a 29-point, 16-rebound double-double.
“Back-to-back nights, it’s to be expected,” he said of feeling tired toward the end. “But it’s basketball. You’ve got to play through it.”
Embiid’s teammates had mixed reactions to seeing their centerpiece hit the ground. T.J. McConnell estimated he and “about 20,000 people” inside the Wells Fargo Center held their breaths until Embiid walked off the spill. Embiid's lengthy injury history, including season-ending left knee surgery last year, always adds an extra element of concern whenever he slips or tumbles.
Ben Simmons wasn’t sure exactly how to read the situation at first.
“Mixed emotions,” Simmons said. “It’s like, Jo is hurt or is he not hurt? Does he just want a breather? (Smiles) I was praying for the breather, which it was. I was happy he got up.”
Veteran JJ Redick, on the other hand, wasn’t worried. He has seen a lot over his 12-year career and had a strong feeling Embiid wasn’t seriously injured.
“Jo is very dramatic,” Redick said. “I’ve played with a lot of good actors in my career and he’s definitely in the top three. He could have a future in Hollywood if he wanted to.”
Redick added, “Some people probably bought it, I didn’t buy it. There’s a difference between agony and selling, like, a foul, you know what I mean? We all do it. It’s part of the game. I wasn’t concerned.”
In the end, Embiid just wanted to think about basketball.
“Can we just stop talking about my knee?” Embiid said after two minutes of questions about it. “I’m fine.”