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The 76ers will be without star center Joel Embiid indefinitely after he suffered a right facial fracture and mild concussion in Philadelphia’s series-clinching Game 6 victory over the Raptors in the First Round of the playoffs Thursday.
Embiid finished with 33 points and 10 rebounds in 36 minutes of work in the 132-97 win, but suffered the injury while defending Raptors forward Pascal Siakam with 3:58 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The 2021-22 NBA MVP Award finalist has been playing through a torn ligament in his right thumb, which he suffered in Philadelphia’s Game 3 victory over Toronto. Embiid, 28, had intended to play through the pain and undergo surgery after the season.
Embiid became the first center since Shaquille O’Neal in 1999-2000 to win the NBA’s scoring title, averaging 30.6 PPG this season. He was his dominant self in the series against Toronto, averaging 26.3 PPG and 11.3 RPG.
But without Embiid, Philadelphia faces an even tougher challenge against the Heat. Miami disposed of the Hawks in five games in the First Round, neutralizing guard Trae Young. 76ers guard James Harden said before the postseason that he didn’t feel any pressure, but will certainly have some now as the No. 1 scoring option alongside guard Tyrese Maxey.
Game 1 of the Second Round between the 76ers and Heat will tip-off Monday from the FTX Arena at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT.
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