NBA rumors: 76ers receive terrible offseason injury news

Montrezl Harrell, Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Montrezl Harrell, Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers received yet another punch to the gut in the form of disheartening injury news. 

The Philadelphia 76ers managed to one-up themselves with another second round meltdown in the playoffs. Now, James Harden is requesting a trade, Joel Embiid is floating the idea of playing elsewhere, and half the second unit left in free agency.

Things have never been better.

That, of course, isn’t true. And, to make matter worse, one of the few second unit members who did return is now expected to miss the entire season. According to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Montrezl Harrell, the 29-year-old backup center who re-signed on a one-year minimum contract over the summer, suffered a torn ACL and meniscus during his offseason workouts.

Philadelphia 76ers dealt another blow with terrible Montrezl Harrell injury news

One has to feel for Harrell, above all else. He faces a difficult road to recovery. Overcoming multiple torn tendons in the same knee is no easy feat, especially for a player who relies on athleticism like Harrell. Known for his hard pivots in the post and his explosive finishes at the rim, Harrell will need to work diligently and prolifically to regain strength and confidence in his knee.

The Sixers, meanwhile, face a minor conundrum. Daryl Morey and the front office can apply for a Disabled Player Exception, but the payout would amount to only 50 percent of Harrell’s salary (a hair over $1 million). That’s far below the value of a standard minimum contract, making it hard to use in the immediate future.

That being said, the DPE does not prorate in the same fashion as a mid-level exception, per Liberty Ballers. That could allow the Sixers to save it for a minimum contract buyout candidate later in the season.

Philadelphia already has an open roster spot, regardless of what happens with Harrell. Philadelphia isn’t lacking for depth at the center position — Harrell was already stationed behind Joel Embiid, Paul Reed, and Mo Bamba on the depth chart, with Filip Petrusev also in the mix — so Harrell’s absence should be minimally felt from a team basketball perspective.

That said, it is truly heartbreaking news for Harrell, who has carved out a productive career in the NBA despite his atypical style. The 2020 NBA Sixth Man of the Year was already battling for his NBA life. Now, that battle gets infinitely more challenging. Harrell is a fighter, though — that much has never been in doubt. If he tackles rehab with the same ferocity as he attacks the rim, it wouldn’t be too shocking to see him back on an NBA floor once the 2024-25 season rolls around.

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