MIAMI — Joel Embiid feared it. And he was right.
The Cameroonian star suffered a fracture of the right orbital bone and a minor concussion, the Philadelphia 76ers reported Friday, adding that their star was unable to play indefinitely.
Embiid, the NBA scoring champion and a finalist for the season’s Most Valuable Player award, was injured late in Philadelphia’s victory in Toronto on Thursday. The 76ers had already resolved Game 6 of the Eastern Conference first-round series.
The win allowed fifth-seeded Philadelphia to advance to the East semifinal against Miami, the best team in the conference in the regular season. That series begins Monday night.
Now, Embiid is highly unlikely to play.
Embiid was already playing with an injured thumb on his right hand. Still, he led the 76ers to a series win over Toronto.
There were 3:58 minutes left in Thursday’s game and the 76ers led by 29 points. Pascal Siakam slammed his hand into Embiid’s face, causing him to immediately take several steps back, clearly in pain.
Moments later, he walked off the field. Now, no one knows when she will return.
Immediately after the game, he gave an interview to NBA TV. One of the first questions tried to find out how she felt about herself.
“I think it could have broken my face,” he replied. “Everything is fine. It’s the playoffs.”
In that last one he was not right. The diagnosis realized that not everything was fine.
Barring a significant comeback, Embiid would not start the series. A similar fracture, of the left orbital bone, sidelined him for about three weeks — spanning 10 games, including two playoff games against the Heat, late in the 2017-18 season.
He needed surgery back then.
Now, the time that will be lost depends on the severity of the fracture around the right eye. In 2018, she wore a specially designed mask when she came back, even after surgery.
The 76ers didn’t mention surgery in their statement Friday, which could indicate surgery might not be necessary this time.
And there is the matter of the NBA’s concussion protocol to be resolved, although the go-ahead in this case could come in a matter of days.
Embiid led the 76ers with averages of 30.6 points, 11.7 rebounds and assists, as well as 1.5 blocks per game during the regular season. In the offseason before next season, he will have surgery to repair a tendon in his thumb.
He averaged 26.2 points and 11.3 rebounds in the six games against the Raptors.
He’s up for MVP, along with Denver’s Nikola Jokic and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.