Philadelphia title dreams are based on Joel Embiidright knee of – they need him to be dominant at MVP level to win the East, which is why this is worrying news.

The 76ers announced that Embiid has a “small tear in the lateral meniscus,” something that does not require immediate surgery, but he is absent for Game 5 and will be on a daily basis while undergoing treatment.

Embiid’s return to the field is a matter of both pain tolerance and movement of his knee (there will be some swelling to deal with). If he can get back on the pitch, will he be close to 100%?

Embiid injured his knee in Game 4 against Washington after an awkward fall from a contested dunk. While it looks like he should have injured his tailbone that fall (and he probably did), watch his right foot catch on the ground as he lands, twisting his knee.

The 76ers will almost certainly finish off the Wizards even without Embiid (Philly leads the series 3-1). Mike Scott and Dwight Howard will get time at five, and Doc Rivers has tried a few Ben simmons in the center against Washington that we can see again.

However, the next round – likely against Atlanta – is much more difficult without Embiid, and if he’s not a dominant force, they can’t topple Brooklyn or Milwaukee. The 76ers were better by +12.4 per 100 possessions when Embiid was on the court this season, they went 10-11 in the games he missed.

Embiid’s career story is that he’s a dominant force on both sides of the pitch when he’s in good health, but that health has held him back and the 76ers. This season, he averaged 28.5 points on 51.3% shots plus 10.6 rebounds per game and was in the mix for the MVP midway through the season. Then he missed 11 of 13 games with a bone contusion in his left knee – he’s been out for 21 games in total during the season – and that knocked him over on most ballots (well that he is one of the three finalists of the award).

In those playoffs, he averaged 24 points per game and did so in under 30 minutes per night in the first three games of the series (he rested more because his team had full control) .

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