Joel Embiid to miss season after second surgery on right foot

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

PHILADELPHIA -- Joel Embiid will have to wait at least one more season to start his NBA career.

Embiid, the injury-riddled Philadelphia 76ers center, is expected to miss the season following a second surgery on his right foot. His recovery should take five to eight months, the same timeframe the center was given following the first surgery last year. The Sixers were cautious with their prized prospect and held him out for the entire season. Team president Sam Hinkie said Wednesday the organization would follow a similar path again.

Embiid had a bone graft Tuesday, with two existing screws replaced and a graft using bone from his hip.

Hinkie said the foot did not break again, there was simply less healing than expected.

"If we all do our part," Hinkie said, "this will end in a way in which Joel can achieve all his dreams for having a really long, really fantastic NBA career. Nobody has talked me off of that just yet. Do we have reason to be concerned? Of course. But no one has told me that's still not in the cards."

Embiid had no pain leading into the surgery and shot 3-pointers and even dunked before games in the final month of last season.

Hinkie said the 76ers "would be silly" not to try a new approach in Embiid's rehab -- though he would not second-guess last year's process.

"No one is suggesting because he was shooting 3s in March or playing 3-on-3 in our building in May that it was too much, too soon," Hinkie said.

The 7-footer from Kansas was the third overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft. He missed his entire rookie season after having surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot in June 2014.

The team announced in June he suffered a setback in his recovery.

Orthopedic surgeon Martin O'Malley said Tuesday night the "bone's integrity was even better than expected and has been put in a great position to support full recovery."

The 76ers said they met with doctors around the globe after Embiid's setback -- summoning experts from New York, North Carolina, Colorado, California, Pennsylvania, Australia, the Netherlands and Qatar to determine the course of action.

They also said Embiid was likely to have surgery in late July.

"I think my estimate stunk there," Hinkie said.

Embiid, a native of Cameroon, played one season in 2013-14 at Kansas and was considered the top pick until injuries set him back. He hurt his back while landing awkwardly during a game and missed the Jayhawks' final two regular-season games and the Big 12 Tournament. He also missed a victory over Eastern Kentucky and a season-ending loss to Stanford in the NCAA tournament.

Embiid then had foot surgery before the draft, but the rebuilding Sixers weren't afraid to take a chance on him at No. 3. Philadelphia is 37-127 under Hinkie and coach Brett Brown.

Expecting to move on without him, the Sixers used the No. 3 pick in the 2015 draft on Duke center Jahlil Okafor.

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