Just days before the NBA draft, top prospect Joel Embiid suffered a foot fracture that required him to have surgery to repair his injury. Once news of his injury hit the sports world, speculation abounded that he might not even be drafted in the first round but, as a testament to his skills, the big man was picked by the Philadelphia 76ers at number 3. So, now what?
For starters, Philly is no stranger to drafting injured players that won’t see a minute of court time during their first season with the team. This past year, team management allowed new draftee Nerlens Noel to sit out the entire season in order to give him time to recover from knee surgery. Realistically speaking, then, when might Embiid first make his way onto the court?
Embiid had a stress fracture in his navicular bone, which sits at the top of his arch; it’s the type of break that affects jumping big men (Yao Ming and Bill Walton suffered the exact same injury.) After having surgery to repair the injury, initial reports thought that Embiid would be back at it within 4-6 months. Speaking the day after the draft, however, 76ers manager Sam Hinkie said that those reports were too optimistic. "The number that I've heard from the surgeon himself was five to eight months," Hinkie told reporters. He went on to say that while he would not entirely rule out Embiid for the 2014-15 season, he would do what was best for the young player’s long term future with the organization.
As a Houston podiatrist who sees far too many athletes pushed back into the game before they have fully recovered from foot injuries, I applaud the 76ers for allowing their injured players, like Embiid, to fully heal no matter what the cost to the team may be. If you are recovering from a sports injury or any kind of foot surgery, you need to be under the supervision of a doctor that has your best interests in mind. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Andrew Schneider today to protect your future health.