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‘I’m not a quitter’: 76ers star Joel Embiid confirms he’s battling Bell’s palsy

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NBA Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid poured in a career playoff-high 50 points to propel the Philadelphia 76ers to a much-needed win over the New York Knicks on Friday AEST, then confirmed he’s playing through Bell’s palsy.

Reports surfaced Thursday that the Cameroon-born star had been treated for the past week for the condition, which causes weakness in the muscles of the face.

Asked about it after the 76ers’ 125-114 victory over the Knicks, which cut the deficit in their NBA Eastern Conference playoff series to 2-1, Embiid said he’d been dealing with it since before the Sixers’ play-in clash with the Miami Heat.

“I think it started a day or two before the Miami game,” said Embiid, adding that he’d suffered migraines as well as the muscle weakness that particularly affects his left eye and mouth.

“Yes, it’s pretty annoying,” added Embiid, who wore sunglasses as he spoke to reporters after the game.

“My left side of my face, my mouth and my eye. It’s been tough. But I’m not a quitter.

“It’s unfortunate, that’s the way I look at it. It’s not an excuse — got to keep pushing.”

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Embiid hits 50 points in 76ers win | 00:57

The cause of Bell’s palsy isn’t known. It’s thought to be the result of swelling and irritation of the nerve that controls the affected muscles, and some believe it could be a reaction triggered by a viral infection.

Symptoms usually start to improve within weeks, and most recover fully within six months.

“With the conversations that I’ve had, it could be weeks, it could be months,” Embiid said.

It’s just the latest health concern for Embiid, who had surgery to repair a meniscus injury in his left knee in February.

He returned earlier this month to bolster the 76ers’ playoff push.

Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers. Photo by Tim Nwachukwu / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFPSource: AFP
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