Sifting Through Smoke and Mirrors

By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)

In the roller coaster ride that is the Joel Embiid injury saga, fans entered a hammerhead turn followed by a cobra roll on Monday (shout-out to my days working at Six Flags Great Adventure). First, a source indicated there was a ‘legitimate chance’ Joel Embiid could miss the 2015-16 season. Predictably, that news was treated with all the sky is falling reaction you might have expected from the general public. Plenty of people are already have assumed the worst, so someone substantiating that position in print is only going to verify their worst-held fears in their own minds.

Except, here’s the thing. Legitimate chance could mean absolutely anything; there was no reasoning behind that claim, just utter speculation. There’s a legitimate chance you win the lottery when you buy a ticket. There’s a legitimate chance of peace in the Middle East one day. There’s a legitimate chance the hot girl in your school has been secretly hoping you ask her out (ok, maybe not that one). Point is, such a claim was just a bunch of empty noise and should be treated as such.

Then, as Benton Smith at reported, Embiid’s former coach, Bill Self, came out and made a statement about the big man’s recovery:

“But by no means, from what Jo has told us, ‘slow down’ does not mean major setback. It means they’re gonna give it a little bit more time to heal before they put him in stressful situations.”

The glass half-full crowd took this news as a sign that everything is going to be alright. But again, there’s no new information here. I’m sure Bill Self wasn’t tearing himself away from the recruiting trail or whatever it is a coach at a big-time D-1 program is doing right now to follow up with a bunch of specialists regarding the health of a former player. Whatever information he gleaned is probably just coming from a phone conversation with Embiid himself.

What it boils down to is that all the Sixers have officially said is there’s been less healing than anticipated at this point. So right now, that’s all we have to go on. I can’t stop you from believing that it’s all a conspiracy theory to create a smokescreen for the upcoming draft, or from thinking Embiid’s career is going the way of Greg Oden if that’s what you really want to think. However, we live in a 24-hour sports news cycle anymore, and as a result, more and more useless debris gets thrown into the mix. Like early frontiersmen panning for gold out west, we have to learn how to sift through the junk for the rare, valuable bits of information.

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