Joel Embiid is Sick of the Sideline
Like most fans in Philadelphia, Joel Embiid was frustrated after the Sixers 113-103 Game 2 loss to the Miami Heat on Monday night.
Embiid was held out of the action again as he continues to recover from the fractured orbital bone that he suffered in late March, but it’s pretty clear that he felt as though he should have been cleared to play by now. Just minutes after the loss – while Sixers head coach Brett Brown was addressing media members in his post-game press conference – Embiid took to Instagram to express his unhappiness with his inability to contribute.
“Fucking sick and tired of being babied,” Embiid wrote in a message that was both brief and direct.
Embiid has been cleared by the league’s concussion protocol and he is equipped with a mask to protect his fractured face, but the Sixers doctors have yet to clear him for game action.
In a game that was much more physical than the series opener, and one where the perimeter players were collectively cool, the Sixers certainly could have used their All-Star center on Monday night; a fact that Brown acknowledged afterwards.
“When you’re seeking to become a whole team, you need Joel Embiid,” Brown said. “… In those moments [where the Sixers offense is struggling], that’s where you want to post Joel Embiid, and settle the gym. I felt tonight it was a really strong example for me of how you wished you had him.”
When alerted of Embiid’s post on social media, Brown offered an honest response.
“He just wants to play basketball,” Brown said of Embiid. “He wants to be with his team, he wants to play in front of the fans and he wants to see this through. When he’s not able to do that, he gets frustrated, and I respect his frustrations. It’s borne out of him wanting to be with his team. And so the medical side, different reasons, I’m not going to go there. But I do know the spirit he delivered in that [post] you just talked about reflects my conversations with him. It’s completely driven by team, competitiveness, I want to play basketball, that type of feeling more than anything.”
This is not the first time that Embiid and the Sixers medical team haven’t seen eye-to-eye on issues since the Kansas product was selected by the organization with the third pick in the ’14 Draft, and the disagreement is always the same: Embiid feels like he is ‘babied’ by the staff, while the team would say that they are practicing patience and prioritizing long-term health.
The team’s tough loss in Game 2, coupled with the prospect of being forced to sit out again in Game 3 on Thursday night led to Embiid’s Instagram outburst. The way he sees it, he made a promise to the city, and he wants to deliver upon that promise.
“I promised the city the playoffs and I’m not on the court and I may not be on Thursday either,” Embiid said on Monday night, via ESPN. “I wish more than anything that I was out there. I just want the green light to play.”
The Sixers were able to secure the three seed in the East - and win Game 1- without Embiid, but if they are going to make any legitimate noise in the postseason, they need him out there, and the sooner the better.
Follow Michael Kaskey-Blomain on Twitter @therealmikekb.