Bryan Colangelo: Joel Embiid has 'very minor meniscal tear' in left knee

Bryan Colangelo: Joel Embiid has 'very minor meniscal tear' in left knee

Hours after Joel Embiid said after the Sixers' morning shootaround Saturday that he was "not healthy," president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo revealed the rookie big man has "a very minor meniscal tear" in his left knee found in an MRI on Jan. 20.

"On the MRI that was conducted shortly after the injury vs. Portland, the MRI revealed obviously what we thought it to be — a bone bruise," Colangelo said before the Sixers' game against Miami on Saturday.

"There was also the recognition that there was a very minor meniscal tear. But it was not thought to be acute and it was not thought to be the source of the pain, inflammation or symptoms. That is the case."

Since the tear is not believed to be acute, the injury "likely or could have been pre-existing," according to Colangelo. Embiid is being treated for the bone bruise, Colangelo said.

"The bone bruise treatment and progression toward getting back to play is simply a pattern of loading and recovery and training that ultimately results in him being asymptomatic," Colangelo said. "Once he is asymptomatic, he'll be back on the court."

Embiid has missed nine straight games and 12 of the Sixers' last 13. Embiid missed three games after the Jan. 20 game against Portland, but then returned against the Rockets on Jan. 27 and suffered a left knee contusion. He's been out since and is still dealing with soreness and swelling.

Why let Embiid play against the Rockets on Jan. 27? According to Colangelo, Embiid's symptoms had subsided and symptoms were "non-reactive in any kind of way" in the four days of practicing leading up to the Houston game. It wasn't until Jan. 29 the swelling began, Colangelo said.

"From that time forward, we're back to the same path of trying to treat the symptoms, not the MRI, but once again as we look to get him back," Colangelo said. "We’re trying to do the best path toward him getting back on the basketball court. But all in all, it’s all about the long-term health and viability of the athlete.”

Derek Bodner first reported the injury. According to Bodner, it's a low-grade tear and it will not require surgery.

Embiid is not expected to return before the All-Star break. Colangelo said Saturday that it's "very unlikely" he plays before the All-Star break, citing lack of practice opportunities before then. The Sixers have two games this week before next weekend's break after Saturday's game against Miami. Colangelo also said Embiid will not participate in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge and the Skills Challenge.

"He’s progressing well, but we’re still contemplating that if he doesn’t play in Charlotte on Monday or in Boston on Wednesday, he’s certainly not going to play in the Rising Stars game," Colangelo said. "But it’s more than likely we’ll hold him back until the end of the All-Star break, because that gives us the clearest path to a number of days where he can progress toward full health and recovery."

Colangelo said there was no reason to shut down Embiid because of the injury according to the medical information they have, and they will continue to treat the symptoms. He also pointed to Ben Simmons' potential return as a reason why he wouldn't shut Embiid down because the Sixers would like "an idea of exactly what we have."

"Once he's healthy and has fully progressed to the point where it's a clear path to a return to play," Colangelo said, "we'll get him back out there to play. But again, at this stage, once again, it's not thought to be a severe injury.

"If it was anything other than that, I'd be possibly singing a different tune."

CSNPhilly.com's Jessica Camerato contributed to this report.

Sixers trade Richaun Holmes to Suns; Jonah Bolden inks 4-year contract, source confirms

Sixers trade Richaun Holmes to Suns; Jonah Bolden inks 4-year contract, source confirms

The Sixers are not quite done making moves this offseason.

The team on Friday sent big man Richaun Holmes to the Suns for cash considerations. The Sixers also signed 2017 second-round pick Jonah Bolden to a four-year deal, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark.

Yahoo! Sports' Shams Charania first reported the trade and Bolden's signing.

With these moves, the Sixers’ roster remains at 15 players, but that could change if the team finds a way to rid themselves of Jerryd Bayless’ contract — say, in a trade with Cleveland (see story).

The writing has been on the wall for Holmes. Now entering his fourth year, the 2015 second-round pick struggled to find a role in Brett Brown’s rotation last season with a healthy Joel Embiid and veteran Amir Johnson in the fold. While he offered energy, athleticism and weakside rim protection off the bench, Holmes lacked discipline defensively, something Brown hasn’t tolerated during his tenure.

Bolden will essentially take Holmes’ spot on the roster as a developmental big. With quicker feet defensively, Bolden has more versatility to guard fours. While his summer league performance was underwhelming offensively, Bolden did impress defensively, especially against No. 1 pick DeAndre Ayton. It’s important to note that the third and fourth years of Bolden’s deal are not guaranteed, according to Derek Bodner of The Athletic.

Drafted by the Sixers out of Bowling Green State, Holmes flashed at times but was only able to get into 48 games this season, averaging 15.5 minutes a contest. He averaged 7.4 points and 4.2 rebounds in 156 career games with the Sixers.

A native Australian, Bolden attended UCLA for one year before heading overseas to play for FMP Beograd of the Adriatic League. As a draft and stash this past season, Bolden played for Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv and tested his skills in the EuroLeague. He averaged 7.2 points and six rebounds in 20.8 minutes a game. He’s shown flashes of a jump shot but shot just 31 percent from three this season abroad and 24 percent in summer league action.

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Sixers' reported interest in Kyle Korver trade may be way out of Jerryd Bayless' contract

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Sixers' reported interest in Kyle Korver trade may be way out of Jerryd Bayless' contract

The Sixers have been searching for a way to end their partnership with Jerryd Bayless for some time now. And while a resolution may finally be coming into shape, it’s far from a sure thing.

The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey first reported Thursday that the Sixers have had discussions with the Cleveland Cavaliers about a trade involving Bayless and Kyle Korver.

However, The New York Times’ Marc Stein added Friday that while a potential deal involving the two sides is “possible” it’s also “far from certain.” 

Bayless has one year remaining on his contract at $8.57 million. 

Korver has two years left on his deal for $7.56 million in 2018-19 and $7.5 million the following season. Of that 2019-20 salary, only $3.44 million is guaranteed if Korver remains on the team after July 7, 2019. The money becomes fully guaranteed after that point. 

Any deal for the Cavaliers to take on Bayless would likely also involve a draft pick going back to Cleveland. The Sixers currently have control of most of their own assets, including six total second-round selections in the next two drafts.

Korver, who spent the first four-plus years of his career with the Sixers, is still getting it done in the NBA at 37 years old. The veteran sharpshooter played in 73 games regular-season games last season for the Cavs and averaged 9.2 points a night on 43.6 percent three-point shooting (sixth-best in the NBA).

Meanwhile, Bayless fell out of the rotation in Year 2 of his three-year, $27 million contract with the Sixers. The 29-year-old guard was a DNP-CD for 39 of the Sixers’ final 40 games, including playoffs, with the lone appearance being a showing for 1:44 in the team’s Game 1 blowout loss to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

In all, Bayless played in just 39 contests and averaged 7.9 points (41.6 percent shooting from the field and 37.0 percent shooting from three-point range).

“It wasn’t easy,” Bayless said during exit interviews of his diminished role as the season went on. “This whole year from an individual standpoint wasn’t the easiest. But, at the same time, when you’re around a group of guys that we had and the success that we had, it made it easier. 

“I’m really grateful that I was able to be a part of this organization this year. We’ll see what happens moving forward.”

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