Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid sustained a thumb injury that has prompted fears of a ligament tear, The Athletic's Shams Charania reports.
There is fear that Philadelphia 76ers All-NBA star Joel Embiid has a torn ligament in his right thumb, but Embiid has vowed to continue playing through the injury, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Embiid will rely on his pain tolerance and 76ers‘ medical staff.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 22, 2022
Charania's report landed shortly after ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reported that Embiid is experiencing "pain and discomfort" in the injured thumb that may require an MRI. He plans to play in Game 4 against the Toronto Raptors, per the report.
Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid is experiencing pain and discomfort in his right thumb but practiced today and and expects to play in game 4, sources told ESPN. It’s possible he gets an MRI in the near future to determine the extent of the injury, sources told @wojespn and I
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) April 22, 2022
It wasn't immediately clear when Embiid sustained the injury. Images from Wednesday's Game 3 win over the Toronto Raptors show Embiid wearing a restraint on his right thumb after halftime that he wasn't wearing in the first half. Embiid practiced on Friday while wearing a wrap on his thumb, and head coach Doc Rivers told reporters that Embiid is "good."
Joel Embiid was wearing a soft brace on his hand/wrist when we were let into practice today. He was jokingly shooting free throws with his left hand. Doc Rivers said Embiid was able to use that hand during practice. pic.twitter.com/dt0KypQbBU
— Gina Mizell (@ginamizell) April 22, 2022
"He's good," Rivers said. "We did a lot of stuff ... We just don't want anybody to hit his arm, his hand and all that. But he was fine."
If he did sustain the injury during Wednesday's game, it didn't appear to hamper his play. The MVP finalist finished with 33 points and 13 rebounds while shooting 12 of 20 from the field in the 104-101 overtime win. He also hit the game-winning 3-pointer in the final second of overtime that secured a 3-0 series lead for the 76ers.
In three playoff games, Embiid has lived up to the status that made him an MVP finalist, averaging 27.7 points and 13 rebounds against the Raptors. An injury of any significance for Embiid is obviously a concern for the 76ers. If they close out the Raptors, they face a likely second-round matchup against the top-seeded Miami Heat, who opened up a 2-0 lead in their first-round series over the Atlanta Hawks. Game 4 against the Raptors is scheduled for Saturday.
Embiid's injury scare isn't the first in these NBA playoffs. Phoenix Suns All-Star Devin Booker is expected to miss 2-3 weeks with a hamstring strain sustained in a Game 2 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Khris Middleton, meanwhile, is out indefinitely with an MCL sprain sustained in a Game 2 loss to the Chicago Bulls.