The hits keep on coming for the Philadelphia 76ers. Just one day after their season ended, wing player and veteran Danny Green was diagnosed with both a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee.
The injury looked brutal in real time. Joel Embiid crashed to the floor after attempting a layup, rolling up onto Green's leg and causing him to go down in a lot of pain. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported during Game 6 there was some fear about the severity of the injury, and the MRI today confirmed those fears.
Green came into his exit interview on Friday on crutches and with a big air cast over his left leg. He sounded an optimistic note about the severity of the injury (this was before the MRI results came out), but he also gave some grim information from after the injury occurred:
"I didn't realize how serious it was until I tried to put weight on it and it buckled," Green said. "Then I realized, it's probably going to take some time, and I wasn't going to be returning to the series at all if we were to win anyway," Green said. "I heard some sounds that were not comforting."
Recovery from a torn ACL usually takes anywhere between six and nine months. The fact he is going to be turning 35 this June will only make the recovery more difficult.
The Sixers have a few options they can choose from regarding Green's future with the team. He signed a two-year, $20 million contract last offseason with $10 million guaranteed. The way the contract was structured did not have any guaranteed money in the second year of the deal.
The first potential route the team can go with would be to keep him on the roster next season in the hopes he can make a full recovery and get back out on the floor at some point before the end of the 2022-23 season. The second option for the Sixers would be to release him into free agency. The third option would be to attempt to package him, presumably with another piece or two, in a trade to bring in a role player who will be able to make an impact on the court next season.
The decision will certainly be a tough one for the Sixers. Green provided some much needed veteran leadership to the Sixers along with being a solid three-and-D player. The Sixers, with limited cap space this offseason, will be hard pressed to replace his spot in the rotation.
Head coach Doc Rivers spoke about his appreciation for Green's impact on the team in his exit interview on Friday afternoon:
"What I love about Danny is he's played 1,000 years, and he still has this zest to show up every day and play every day, and loves it every day," Rivers said. "He's not lost any energy as far as wanting to be a player. And I'm telling you as a coach, you don't get a lot of those. He's a valuable guy to have on our team. And obviously when he went out, that hurt us. Not only just his play, but emotionally, that hurt us."
If this does end up being his final moments on the Sixers, he will have averaged 7.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 39.5 percent from three-point range during his time in Philadelphia.