Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said before Saturday’s game against the Heat that it was “a little bit” disappointing that injured center Joel Embiid elected to hop onstage and dance at Friday’s Meek Mill concert in the Wells Fargo Center.
“Perhaps he crossed a line, perception-wise,” Colangelo added.
Coach Brett Brown said he had discussed the situation with the 22-year-old rookie but declined to get into the specifics of the conversation.
“It's not the best thing to see when you wake up on Saturday morning and find out that was the case because I know the reaction,” Colangelo said of the video that surfaced of Embiid dancing, shirtless, at the show. “I understand some of the potential concern out there.”
Colangelo and Brown both emphasized that Embiid, who injured his left knee when he landed awkwardly after dunking against Portland on Jan. 20, has been moving well on the court in recent workouts.
The team first called his injury a contusion, and Embiid and Brown later said it was a bone bruise. Derek Bodner of derekbodner.com reported Saturday that Embiid has a torn meniscus, and Colangelo subsequently described the injury as a “very minor meniscal tear,” as well as a bone bruise (see full story).
On Saturday, Embiid missed his ninth straight game, and his 12th in the Sixers’ last 13. His only appearance in that stretch was a 32-point effort in a nationally televised loss to Houston on Jan. 27.
Colangelo said it is “more than likely we’ll hold him back until the end of the All-Star break,” meaning he will probably miss Monday’s game in Charlotte and Wednesday’s game in Boston, as well as his planned appearances in the Rising Stars Challenge and the skills competition on All-Star weekend in New Orleans.
As for the dancing, Colangelo said, “Being at a concert wasn't disappointing. Probably being onstage and dancing was a little bit, given the circumstances and given the potential reaction. It's understandable.”
Colangelo called Embiid “highly responsible” and added, “It's hard to say to someone like Joel that has been a tremendous character and tremendous citizen for us, that he's doing anything untoward or wrong.”
Team officials take “a very serious tone” with players about making wise off-court decisions, Colangelo said, though he declined to get into specifics of those conversations.
Brown was likewise mum about his discussions with Embiid.
“I did see the video, and the conversations with Joel after I saw the video included a lot, some of which (media members) mentioned,” he said. “By and large I’d prefer it was a private conversation with a 20-year-old.”
He stopped short of saying he was disappointed with the rookie, and referred a question about how Embiid could dance but not play to Colangelo.