An article published Friday by SI alleged that some in the Philadelphia Sixers’ front-office were very unhappy with injured center Joel Embiid‘s lackadaisical approach to his rehab from multiple foot surgeries.
The big fella, selected third overall in the 2014 NBA Draft, reportedly physically threatened a member of the team‘s training staff last season; his refusal to wear a protective boot may have led to a second surgery; and he gorged on junk food and Shirley Temple drinks instead of consuming the healthy choices provided by the Sixers:
Embiid was determined to go to Vegas to party for the balance of the 10 days of summer league. While Embiid was in Vegas, he was mandated to wear the walking boot in advance of the second surgery, but Embiid not only refused to wear the boot, but he carried himself as if nothing was wrong with the foot, shooting jumpers and even occasionally dunking. These actions have given rise to the theory that Embiid actually re-broke his foot, rather than the initial injury not healing properly. It also led to Embiid having the surgery a month later than the club originally had hoped.
This type of disregard for instruction also extends to Embiid’s dietary habits. Per a source, the Sixers’ training staff was so concerned about what he was eating, they stocked the refrigerator in his downtown hotel residence each week with healthy food. When a staffer went to restock the fridge each week, most everything was uneaten and unopened, and they were throwing out the fruits and vegetables every week. When the team subsequently asked to see Embiid’s room service bill, they found that most days he was ordering junk food along with his signature beverage, a pitcher of Shirley Temples. Embiid also was frequently seen feasting on chicken fingers and hot dogs at and after games.
Sixers head coach Brett Brown, speaking to the local press, dismissed the story as merely old news.
Per the Philly Inquirer:
“It’s just one of those things that we move on from,” Brown said before a 127-118 preseason loss to Washington at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday night. “We’re pretty much treating it as noise. We will move on from it.”
“This story is old. It’s been documented. The media did a hell of a job reporting accurately what has been going on,” Brown said. “To all of a sudden wake up and have these things be revisited, I think in some ways is unfortunate and sad.” […] The report said that owner Josh Harris instructed Brown and general manager Sam Hinkie to keep Embiid from attending the Las Vegas Summer League. Brown said that was not true. Embiid, the article said, was “determined to go to Vegas to party.”
“I’m proud of where Joel Embiid is at,” Brown said. “He’s had a rough few years of not playing. He will get there. We’re moving him forward. And more importantly, he’s moving himself forward.”