When the Sixers finally revealed Joel Embiid had a "slight" tear of his meniscus, I wasn't surprised. After he suited up for only one game over the previous three weeks, it was reasonable to assume whatever the 22-year-old was dealing with was a little more significant than a "bruised knee."
What I wasn't really prepared for was the reaction to the news (although you'd think I would know what was coming by now). Apparently, the Sixers' lack of transparency with regard to Embiid is some kind of travesty, as if never before in the history of sports has a club attempted to cover up an injury.
Keep in mind, it's not like Embiid requires surgery. A torn meniscus should not be career threatening. There's no evidence the injury is in any way directly related to the foot injury that kept him out for two full seasons. And based on the decision to allow him to play in a nationally televised game against the Rockets just one week after receiving the diagnosis, Embiid presumably would be on the floor for the Sixers if they were, say, in the NBA Finals right now.
Embiid is hurt. Enough to keep him out of action for the better part of a month, which might seem major — yet even then, how much of that is because the Sixers are being overly precautious with one of their most precious assets? Regardless, how does knowing it's a meniscus and not a bone bruise honestly change things for the public?
Other than perception, maybe, it doesn't. Embiid is out until further notice. Whether it's a meniscus, a bruise or a stubbed toe, he's returning at the same time — whenever the Sixers say he is.
Was it messed up for Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo to claim he was being completely forthright one day before the story about Embiid's meniscus came out? Sure. He was caught in a lie, and no one likes a liar.
But what difference would it have made if Colangelo disclosed the exact nature of Embiid's injury from the very beginning? Would it alter the timetable for his return, which to the best of my knowledge is week-to-week? Better yet, would it speed up the recovery time? Please enlighten me, outside of avoiding a public relations nightmare, what do the Sixers or their fans truly gain from being forthright here?
The one thing that's clear is Embiid's health is prioritized above all else. While he was out all of last season to have a second operation on his foot, the Sixers became a national embarrassment, nearly setting an NBA record for ineptitude. The previous general manager, Sam Hinkie, essentially lost his job because of the patience the organization showed with the recovery. Even in 2017, Embiid is on a minutes and games restriction that many armchair doctors deem unnecessary, and it's probably cost the team wins.
Whatever specifically is wrong with Embiid's knee or any other part of his body, you can believe the Sixers are doing whatever it takes to get it right, no matter how long it takes.
Granted, I'm not entirely sure what the Sixers have to gain by hiding information about Embiid's injury from the public. Maybe they're worried that intel gives opponents a competitive advantage. Maybe the concern is it will affect ticket sales.
Maybe it's an issue of perception. Bone bruise doesn't stoke fears quite like a torn meniscus, which often does require surgery. This tremendous, young athlete has already missed two full seasons and is injured again despite having his playing time seriously monitored and restricted, which can be kind of scary. The Sixers might prefer their handling of Embiid's health isn't questioned, either.
Whatever the case, the front office didn't feel the need to share, and in this particular instance, I don't much care. While it might set a bad precedent, our town's excellent sports media getting to the bottom of this story should make Colangelo think twice about trying to pull a fast one again.
Yet nothing else has changed since we learned the details about Embiid's injury. There was no meaningfully different treatment we weren't aware of. His outlook for making a full recovery hasn't changed.
Embiid is still out, and not returning any sooner or later than before, so just wake me when he gets back.