March 29 (UPI) — Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid collided with rookie teammate Markelle Fultz and did not return to the game, due to a facial injury.
The scary moment happened Wednesday just after the 12-minute mark in the second quarter of the Sixers’ 118-101 win against the New York Knicks at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
Fultz crossed half court and fired a pass to the 7-foot, 250-pound center above the free-throw line. Embiid went to hand the ball back and was about to put a screen on Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina. He bent over and was drilled in the head by Fultz’s shoulder.
Embiid fell to the ground while holding his face. The Sixers’ athletic trainer and team staff helped Embiid to his feet and escorted him to the locker room.
The Sixers listed Embiid with a facial contusion.
“Prayers with my brother,” Fultz tweeted after the game. “Love you bro and I’m here with you @JoelEmbiid.”
“I haven’t learned anything more than you know,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said after the game. “I was told it was a facial contusion and that’s all I know right now.”
Embiid posted a video on his Instagram story Wednesday night from a hospital, saying “not good.”
“I was trying to get the ball at the same time I was watching him, but I mean, my heart dropped really,” Fultz told reporters after the game. “Because I know he hit me. But he’s a tough guy and I know he’s going to be OK.”
“All I can do is pray for him and that’s that.”
Fultz scored three points and had seven assists and five rebounds in the win. Embiid scored five points and had three rebounds in eight minutes of action.
Philadelphia has now won eight consecutive games, its longest winning streak since 2003. The Sixers travel to face the Atlanta Hawks at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Philips Arena.