Just as Sixers fans were celebrating an upcoming playoff trip, and the return of first overall pick Markelle Fultz, Joel Embiid left the game Wednesday after colliding with Fultz. After being taken to the hospital, sources have stated he has a facial fracture and concussion and is expected out 2-4 weeks.
If Embiid can return in 2 weeks it will have him back 2 days after the Sixers’ last regular season game. If the return is 3 or 4 weeks, he will likely miss significant time in the playoffs.
Brett Brown will have to get creative with the front-court, but I think he will be able to do so because of the versatility the Sixers have in the back-court. With the return of Fultz, he could actually play 3 “guards” with Simmons playing the point on offense and guarding the small forward position on defense. While Fultz likely cannot handle major minutes at this point, the guard spots can be managed between Fultz, Redick, McConnell and Belinelli, with TLC playing more minutes if needed. This is all contingent on Dario Saric playing center and Robert Covington playing the power forward spot.
The lineup above should do fine against the small ball that the NBA likes to play, but could struggle against the few teams that do still have true centers. While losing Embiid is obviously not what the team was hoping for as they are fighting for the third seed in the east, as Embiid said on Instagram Thursday night, “I guess I just gotta trust The Process”.