Slow but Steady Wins the Race for Joel Embiid

Embiid was given the chance to relax and fully recover from his foot fractureBack in the summer of 2014, projected first-overall NBA draft pick had his world rocked when, just days before the live televised event, he discovered a stress fracture in his navicular bone, a complex injury that would require surgical repair.

In spite of the devastating news, Embiid was snapped up early on by the Philadelphia 76ers and, to their credit, the team has not rushed the young star through his recovery process.  

Instead, according to a recent report from Comcast Sportsnet Philly, thanks to a strict and careful training program throughout his recovery, Embiid just cleared a MAJOR comeback hurdle!

Initially after the surgery on his navicular (which sits at the top of the foot’s arch), Embiid was not permitted to put any weight on his injured right foot. As such, Embiid only trained while sitting on a chair, either taking shots or fielding passes.

As Embiid progressed in his recovery, he moved from sitting to standing on his left foot while his right knee rested on a chair and, just this week, he’s been able to break free of the chair entirely.

According to Sixers coach Brett Brown, “He is progressing. He actually can do some standstill shooting. He has cleared that first layer of scrutiny from the doctor."

Unfortunately, this kind of patient approach and attitude is not common-place when athletes are being treated for injuries. Especially in professional realms, time is money, and not all teams are willing to let players (especially potential stars) sit out as log as they need to ensure a full recovery.

To those coaches, amateur or professional, who would urge an injured player back to the court or field before a full recovery, this Houston podiatrist urges you to look back on the example of Embiid. If an NBA team like the 76ers can afford to select and sit a player for six months so that he can recover and become a long term asset, everyone else should be able to as well. And if anyone says otherwise, send them over to Dr. Andrew Schneider!

Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.