NBA Rumors: Sobering update given on Joel Embiid's potential return to the Sixers

The Philadelphia 76ers may not be close to getting Joel Embiid back in the lineup after all.
San Antonio Spurs v Philadelphia 76ers
San Antonio Spurs v Philadelphia 76ers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

NBA Rumors: The Philadelphia 76ers' season depends on the return of Joel Embiid but the recent update isn't very reassuring that happens at all anytime soon.

As you would expect, the Philadelphia 76ers have been two very different teams this season - there's the version of the team with Joel Embiid and the one without him. With Embiid, the Sixers have the look of a dark-horse Eastern Conference contender. Without Embiid, the Sixers are a below-average team that will likely be a playoff disappointment.

Heading into the final stretch of the season, the Sixers' success or failure is largely going to be predicated on whether Embiid is able to return from injury. After being diagnosed with a meniscus injury in February, the hope was that Embiid could return at some point before the end of the regular season. However, a recent report suggests that may not end up being the case.

According to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, Embiid is "nowhere near close" to returning to the floor for the Sixers. The are several ways to potentially take this report. On one hand, this could be absolutely gutting considering there is only one month remaining in the regular season. On the other hand, Embiid could be perfectly on his proper timeline with one month remaining before his return.

Either way, this report pretty much echoes that it's very much not a certainty that Embiid returns this season. The Sixers are hoping Embiid is able to make it back this season and this report pretty much cements that idea.

Should Joel Embiid come back this season?

At a certain point, the Sixers are going to have to ask themselves if it really makes the most sense in the world to bring Embiid back. If Embiid can't make it back until the final week of the regular season or perhaps even worse, only in time for the start of the playoffs, should the Sixers put that much pressure on his body?

Embiid is not going to be in basketball shape, much less playoff shape. At that point, it's fair to suggest that it might be in the best interest of both the Sixers and Embiid to shut him down for the remainder of the season.

At this point, considering he's not close to returning, it has to be something the front office is weighing or, at the very least, thinking about. As the Sixers continue to struggle, the team has some key decisions about Embiid to make heading into the postseason.

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