It’s something nobody wants to see.
With 1:05 left in the Sixers’ 111-110 win over the Pelicans, Boban Marjanovic lay on the ground, writhing in pain.
Marjanovic forced a turnover and as Cheick Diallo went to try to grab the loose ball, he landed awkwardly on the Serbian big man’s right knee. Marjanovic had to be helped off the floor.
The Sixers built a 16-point lead, but wound up hanging on for dear life (see observations). They committed 20 turnovers and gave New Orleans a chance in the end. E’Twaun Moore’s three attempt that would’ve given the Pelicans the win was blocked by Jimmy Butler.
All of that seemed secondary after Marjanovic left the game.
“Our teammate got hurt. It sucks,” Ben Simmons said to reporters postgame. “It’s sad to see your teammate go down. Nobody wants to see their teammate go down.”
Already without All-Star Joel Embiid, who is dealing with knee soreness, Marjanovic’s injury could leave the Sixers paper thin at center. He’ll undergo further testing Tuesday, according to the team.
Jonah Bolden got the start at the five and played well, but got in foul trouble, something that has plagued the promising rookie.
And Marjanovic had actually given the Sixers a big boost when Bolden went to the bench. He scored 12 points on 6 of 8 shooting from the field and also grabbed 10 boards and recorded two blocks.
Marjanovic struggled mightily in the loss to Portland — he was far from the only one — but has played well overall in the three games that Embiid has missed. While he isn’t the fleetest of foot, he can be useful in the right matchup.
Brett Brown had mentioned on one more than one occasion that he’d like to see just how much far he can push Marjanovic. Hopefully he still gets that chance.
“When you see something like that, your heart sinks,” Brown said. “He’s good people and he’s helping us. He really was a significant piece and contributor to our program. We’ll keep our fingers crossed and learn more I’m sure very shortly.”
If Marjanovic is out for an extended period, the Sixers will be left with Embiid — whenever he returns — Bolden and veteran Amir Johnson.
Could they look to add another piece if someone like Chicago’s Robin Lopez or Atlanta’s Dewayne Dedmon gets bought out? Either player would certainly be worth a look if they’re bought out ahead of March 1, when playoff rosters need to be set.
For now, all the Sixers can do is hope that Embiid and Marjanovic get well soon.
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