Joel Embiid: Contact Drills and Diplopia

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Will he?

Or won’t he?

We’re talking about Joel Embiid’s game three status, though there isn’t much of an update to share. Embiid again went through a light practice on Wednesday afternoon, one day after participating in contact drills for the first time since he fractured his orbital bone and suffered a concussion back on March 28th.

Here’s what head coach Brett Brown had to say from Miami:

The Sixers need to submit an official injury report to the NBA this evening, which I’d think will say “questionable.” Not like it really matters though, since there was a game earlier this season where Embiid went from doubtful, to probable, to out within the span of five hours. Plus, it’s the playoffs, so it’s not like they’d tip their hat one way or another. Miami is prepared for either scenario and this isn’t some super-secret cat and mouse game.

Joel, of course, wants to play, and went on Instagram the other night to say that’s “fucking sick and tired of being babied.”

The issue, at least how it was described to me, doesn’t really have anything to do with swelling or healing, it’s more about his vision. The more concerning part of this type of injury is patching up a patient so that the eye socket is successfully reset, balancing the eyes and preventing diplopia, the medical term for double vision.

I found a 2013 study in the National Library of Medicine that explains this:

“Diplopia is observed up to 86% of all (orbital bone fractures). Most of the diplopia spontaneously disappears within 1–4 weeks of surgery. Persistence of diplopia after surgical intervention for OBF are common and reported in up to 20% of treated cases. The cause of this residual diplopia (RD) is often caused by missed diagnosis or incorrect reconstruction. For an ideal rehabilitation, the correct cause of the RD has to be assessed even before the secondary surgery. The treatment for these patients must focus on the repair of the anatomical size and correct positioning of the orbit. In the delayed repair of orbital trauma, it is, however, extremely difficult to reconstruct the original size of the orbit because of bone remodeling and scarring. Fine adjustments that must be performed intraoperatively remain a major challenge to virtually any surgeon.”

Makes sense, right?

I was told that the concern was never really the healing of the fractures (plural, there were multiple breaks), but that it was more about feeling comfortable with Joel’s vision. The fitting of the mask after the swelling goes down is rather straightforward compared to ensuring that Joel’s vision is properly addressed. Theoretically, he could wear protective goggles while playing, but I don’t know how that pairs with a mask anatomically. Seems like it would be super uncomfortable.

Whether or not he’s in line to start tomorrow, I have no clue, but game three was the original post-surgery target date.

We’ll see what happens, but in the meantime, here’s 60 seconds of Jo shooting three pointers:

Edit: he’s listed as doubtful –

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8 Responses

  1. The ratings are out and hopefully this site will cover them like our local newspapers.

  2. Get’em out there, what’s the worst that can happen, lose an eyeball? Rub some dirt on it

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