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Joel Embiid injury casts shadow over Philadelphia 76ers' hopes in playoffs

The 76ers’ first playoff appearance since 2012 could be a short one if Joel Embiid is unavailable to play after suffering a left orbital fracture that requires surgery.

Philadelphia has been one of the feel-good stories of the season, posting its first winning record in six years thanks to “The Process” finally bearing out results. Embiid, who missed the first two seasons of his NBA career due to various injuries, has been central to the 76ers’ resurgence, leading the team in scoring, rebounding and blocks while becoming their first All-Star since Jrue Holiday in 2012-13.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe reports that Embiid could return in two to four weeks. The playoffs begin on April 14.

With Embiid on the court, the 76ers have at times looked like a legit contender this season while relying heavily on him and rookie playmaker Ben Simmons. Philadelphia boasts a net rating of plus-11.6 with the All-Star big man on the court — and a minus-3.9 without him.

Embiid passed the concussion test on Wednesday night but later began suffering symptoms that were diagnosed as a concussion and he has been placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol. He took to Twitter on Thursday night, saying, “I guess I gotta trust ‘The Process’ that I’ve been preaching.. Unfortunate freak accident but I’ll be more than fine.”

The 76ers are currently in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, just one half-game ahead of Indiana and three games ahead of Washington. Of their eight remaining games, only two are against above-.500 teams (Cleveland and Milwaukee).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.