NBA

Returning Sixers star Embiid says he was depressed during injury layoff

By Sports Desk April 03, 2024

Joel Embiid has revealed his recent injury layoff left him feeling depressed, having returned to the court to help the Philadelphia 76ers past the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday. 

Embiid missed over two months of action after suffering a knee injury during a game against the Golden State Warriors at the end of January.

Having undergone surgery to repair the lateral meniscus in his left knee, Embiid sat out 29 straight games with the Sixers slumping from 29-17 to 40-35 in that time.

The Sixers have gone 14-27 without the reigning NBA MVP overall this campaign, and they were buoyed by his return on Tuesday as he finished their 109-105 win with 24 points, seven assists and six rebounds.

Opening up on the toll his injury took, Embiid said: "Usually I just tell myself, 'move on to the next one', get better, and then fix it, but this one took a toll mentally, being depressed, it was not good.

"So, I'm still not where I'm supposed to be, especially mentally, but I just love to play and love basketball and I want to play. Any chance that I have to be out there, I'm going to take it.

"For some reason this injury was just disappointing. It was depressing. It took me a while to get over it, and I still haven't gotten over it. So I've just got to take it day by day, look at the positives.

"I'm back. So, hopefully every single day, I'll try to get better and get back to myself."

Embiid was limited to just 29 minutes on the court, but only Kelly Oubre Jr., with 25 points, bettered his return as Philadelphia boosted their playoff hopes by making it back-to-back wins. 

"Minutes-wise, that was probably where I thought we would end up," head coach Nick Nurse said. "I thought we had a good start and it mapped out something like that, minutes-wise.

"He scored some, I thought he passed the ball really well, but when we start amping up our defense in the last six minutes he was down there again.

"Some of those drives didn't look as productive, so that to me is where I really thought he impacted the game. He looked pretty good for not playing for a couple of months, that's for sure."

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