Any NBA championship aspirations the Philadelphia 76ers possess will hinge on the health of MVP finalist Joel Embiid.
Right now, the Sixers must be nervous.
Even though the top-seeded Sixers can clinch the opening round series in five games at home against the eighth-seeded Washington Wizards on Wednesday night, Embiid might not be available to play.
He underwent an MRI on Tuesday and the 76ers listed him as doubtful for Game 5.
Embiid suffered a right knee injury when he crashed to the floor during Game 4 of Monday’s 122-114 loss at Washington.
In the regular season, Embiid missed 21 of 72 games and the Sixers finished 10-11 without him.
“I don’t know the details (of the MRI), so I can’t really speak on that, but obviously we need Jo to win,” Ben Simmons said.
“He’s a big part of this team. If he’s not there next game, we’ve got to close it out. We’ve got what we need. Hopefully, he is back.”
Simmons struggled mightily from the free throw line, going 5 of 11 in Game 4.
The Australian star is 5 for 20 in the series with the Wizards electing to foul him on purpose down the stretch on Monday.
Simmons has been heavily criticised for his poor free-throw shooting and unwillingness to shoot jump shots.
But head coach Doc Rivers again vehemently defended Simmons.
“You guys keep this Ben Simmons narrative alive, which to me is freaking insane – how good this guy is and all the things he does,” Rivers said.
“Ben is not a 40-point guy. That’s not what he does.
“He does other things for your team and I just don’t understand why that’s not sinking in in our city.”
Without Embiid, the Wizards found a way to extend the series but received bad news on Tuesday when it was reported that Davis Bertans would miss 4 to 6 weeks with a right calf strain.
An MRI exam detected the severity.