As if losing four of their past six games wasn't bad enough, the 76ers will now be without their top player for what could be an extended period.
Philadelphia announced that Joel Embiid will undergo surgery Friday after suffering a torn ligament in his left hand during Monday's game against the Thunder. He will be re-evaluated in one to two weeks, but his post-op timeline could be much longer.
That leaves the 76ers with a giant hole in their starting lineup. While some of Embiid's numbers are down from last season, he is still playing like an All-Star (23.4 points, 12.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.4 blocks per game), and Philadelphia's net rating drops from plus-6.7 with Embiid on the floor to plus-1.2 with him on the bench.
It's impossible to replace Embiid's raw production and impact, but Sixers coach Brett Brown won't panic. He understands this group will be "different" and simply can't operate the same way without its frontcourt anchor.
"You have to recalibrate a little bit and find a way to get excited to coach the team that we have," Brown said Thursday night before his team's win over the Celtics. "All of a sudden, we're different. We're just different. I look at this as an opportunity. Nobody's crying. This is not a 'woe is me' moment, not for me, at all. And not for my players.
"We will take what we have, and what we have, I love. We're just different than we used to be."