Phoenix Suns forward Kelly Oubre Jr is set to miss the rest of the season after suffering a torn meniscus in his right knee, while Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid’s shoulder sprain is not believed to be as bad as initially feared.
Unwelcome blow at pivotal time for Suns
Oubre Jr, has averaged career-highs in points (18.7), three-point percentage (35.2%) and rebounds (6.4) this term, and is said to be seeking a second opinion on the problem. That’s according to Yahoo Sports, who first reported the injury.
ESPN claim the Suns are looking into potentially signing buyout candidates or adding a free-agent to replace Oubre’s presence, though this injury blow is expected to eliminate any faint playoff hopes Phoenix had in an ultra-competitive Western Conference.
With a 24-35 record, they are 4½ games behind the eighth-placed Memphis Grizzlies (28-30) in the West and Oubre’s productivity will be missed.
Embiid’s shoulder injury better than initially feared
Contrastingly in the East, there’s a boost for the Philadelphia 76ers: star Joel Embiid will be re-evaluated in a week’s time, having been diagnosed with a left shoulder sprain.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported there is “no significant structural damage” to the shoulder, while his return will be dependent on his symptoms to establish a more firm timetable at a later date.
Fellow franchise star Ben Simmons is also sidelined for at least a fortnight, having suffered a nerve impingement in his back.
Embiid, who had a career-high 49 points (17-24), 14 rebounds, three assists and steals in 36 minutes on Tuesday against the Hawks – played just eight minutes in Wednesday night’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Sixers head coach Brett Brown had this to say, ahead of their 115-106 win over the Knicks: “It’s a painfully obvious bind, we’re missing two All-Stars. You yank that from the team and it’s painful.”
Al Horford started at center in Embiid’s absence, while the Cameroonian is set to miss their four-game Western Conference road trip – starting with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Games that Embiid will miss:
Clippers, Lakers, Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors
Embiid is averaging 23.3 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game – as well as 34.2% from three-point range and 47.2% overall from the field.