Reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid diagnosed with meniscus injury in left knee, timetable unclear

Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid could be out for a lot longer than just this weekend.

The reigning MVP has been diagnosed with a meniscus injury in his left knee and will be out through at least the weekend while the Sixers figure out a treatment plan, the team announced Thursday.

The Sixers' full statement, via Yahoo Sports' Jake Fischer:

"An MRI following Wednesday’s game (sic) and further evaluation over the last 24 hours revealed an injury to the lateral meniscus in Embiid’s left knee. Embiid, in consultation with the 76ers medical staff and several leading specialists, will be OUT through the weekend while a treatment plan is finalized. Updates will be provided as appropriate."

Embiid sustained the injury during Tuesday's game against the Golden State Warriors. He dove for a ball after being stripped on offense and was still on the court when Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga landed on his left leg, causing it to bend awkwardly.

Embiid was in clear pain after the play, grabbing at his knee on the court and eventually limping to the locker room.

With the Sixers are still holding their breath Thursday, the team announced that Embiid would miss that day's game while having his knee evaluated.

Embiid had missed two games in the previous week due to soreness in the same knee. The Sixers lost both, including a 26-point drubbing at the hands of the Portland Trail Blazers. The team is on a four-game losing streak overall, and this news will obviously not help their spirits.

It remains unclear how much time Embiid will have to miss. A minor meniscus injury will usually cause a player to miss multiple weeks, but a major one requiring surgery would likely end Embiid's season. The former would obviously be preferable for the Sixers, who currently sit fifth in the Eastern Conference with a 29-17 record and will likely be in the mix when the NBA playoffs begin in 2 1/2 months.

Either way, the injury will almost certainly knock Embiid out of the race to defend his MVP award. While he currently leads the NBA in scoring, at 35.3 points per game, Embiid has missed 12 games this season, so the most games he can play in after this weekend is 68.

The NBA's new rules, designed to discourage load management, require a player to play in at least 20 minutes in at least 65 games to be eligible for awards. Embiid was considered a top candidate for MVP this season alongside Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, but he now seems all but out of the running.