NBA: 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid says he has Bell's palsy

AP , Friday 26 Apr 2024

Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid has been diagnosed with Bell’s palsy, a form of facial paralysis he says has affected him since before the play-in tournament.

Joel Embiid
Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid adjusts his glasses while speaking at a news conference after Game 3 in an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the New York Knicks, Thursday, April 25, 2024, in Philadelphia. Photo: AP


Embiid wore sunglasses to the podium after he scored 50 points in the Sixers' Game 3 win over the New York Knicks and said he's dealt with various symptoms such as blurred vision and dry eyes.

Embiid said he first started noticing the affliction about a “day or two” before the Sixers played the Miami Heat on April 17 in the play-in tournament. Embiid had 23 points and 15 rebounds in the win that sent the Sixers to the playoffs.

Embiid complained of migraines but “thought it was nothing" before he finally notified doctors he wasn't feeling well.

“My body was just, I was just not feeling it,” Embiid said. “Yes, it's pretty annoying. My left side of my face, my mouth and my eye. It's been tough. But I'm not a quitter. I'm going to keep fighting through anything. It's unfortunate, that's the way I look at it. But it's not an excuse. I've got to keep pushing.”

Last season's NBA MVP, Embiid was 13 of 19 from the floor, made 19 of 21 free throws and hit five 3-pointers in Game 3.

The Knicks lead the series 2-1 and Game 4 is Sunday in Philadelphia.

Embiid had been wearing sunglasses throughout the series and conducted a Game 2 postgame interview with his head down in front of his locker to hide his symptoms.

Embiid said he has no timetable on how long it may take to recover from Bell's palsy.

“It hasn't really necessarily gotten better,” he said. “With the conversations that I've had, it could be weeks, it could be months. I just hope that it stays like this. I've got a beautiful face. I don't like when my mouth is looking the other way. Unfortunate situation but everything happens for a reason.”

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