The 76ers are determined to make sure Joe Embiid doesn’t have another setback with the navicular bone in his right foot.
Five doctors were involved in the center’s bone-graft surgery to repair the bone on Tuesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.
"Everyone involved – our organization, Joel, and his agent Darren Matsubara of Wasserman Media Group – worked diligently to assemble this highly sought after group of professionals," Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie said in a statement. "The goal was simple: Provide the best possible care for Joel to maximize his opportunity for a long and successful NBA career."
With that, Martin O’Malley, Richard Ferkel, Dufetti Fufa, Jonathan Glashow and Christopher Dodson were the doctors involved in the procedure. Dodson is the Sixers team physican.
"Visual inspection suggested good vascularity of the bone," O’Malley said of the three-hour surgery with no complications. "We replaced the two existing screws and performed a bone graft of the site using bone from his hip.
The 7-footer, selected third in the 2014 draft, is expected to miss all of next season, the team announced July 11 after The Inquirer reported as much earlier in the day.
He tweeted out a selfie after the procedure. "Everything went really well," he typed amid several hashtags under the photo. "… Excited for the future."
The former Kansas standout missed what would have been his rookie season after he had surgery in June 2014 to repair a stress fracture in his foot.
There’s a chance this injury could hinder Embiid’s career the way it has for other 7-footers. Like Embiid, Yao Ming suffered a stress fracture in the navicular bone in 2008 and again in 2009. That injury forced Yao to retire in 2011.
Following Tuesday’s surgery, Dr. David T. Martin, Sixers director of performance research and development, debriefed with the medical staff, Matsubara and Embiid’s parents.
"All of us were collectively encouraged by the feedback we received," Martin said. "Moving forward, our sports performance staff will work with Joel to guide his return to play and monitor his progress against targeted benchmarks. Our team will work with Joel to create the best possible environment for healing so he can achieve his goals."
The first phase of his recovering process will focus on health and fitness and non-weight bearing moving for his foot.
"We will incorporate a broad network of resources into Joel’s return to play program, one that we believe will give him the best opportunity to make a complete recovery," Martin said.