Philadelphia 76ers’ star Joel Embiid disclosed Thursday night after the team’s playoff victory against the New York Knicks that he’s been dealing with Bell’s palsy, a condition that causes sudden weakness in the muscles on one side of the face.

“It’s pretty annoying. My left side of my face, my mouth and my eye, so yeah, it’s been tough,” Embiid said.

“But I’m not a quitter, so gotta keep fighting. But yeah, it’s unfortunate. That’s the way I look at it. But it’s not an excuse. Gotta keep pushing,” he added.

Embiid revealed his diagnosis after setting a playoff career high with 50 points in the team’s Game 3 win.

His condition reportedly began a day or two before the play-in game against Miami.


Embiid said the condition has affected his vision at times, causing it to be blurry, and said he constantly has to put drops in his eye to keep it from getting too dry. He also said it’s unclear how long the condition could last, but that it could be weeks or months.

“I just hope that it could stay like this,” Embiid said before adding with a smile, “I got a beautiful face. I don’t like when my mouth is looking the other way.

“Like I said, unfortunate situation, but everything happens for a reason. Like I said, I gotta take care of myself mentally.”

Despite dealing with the condition, Embiid was able to put up a historic performance, one that backed up his emphatic declaration in the visitors’ locker room at Madison Square Garden on Monday night. After Philadelphia’s collapse in the closing seconds of Game 2, Embiid said that the 76ers would win the series.

A 2021 USA TODAY article disclosed Embiid received the experimental COVID-19 shot.

Bell’s palsy is a potential side effect of the injection.

From USA TODAY in November 2021:

Joel Embiid made his long-awaited return to the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night after missing nine games, only two of which the Sixers won, due to a positive COVID-19 test.

While Embiid was a welcome sight for anybody associated with the organization, it shouldn’t be a big surprise that the Sixers struggled for stretches during his first game in three weeks.

Embiid and the Sixers were sluggish at the outset, resulting in having to play from behind nearly all evening on the way to a 121-120 double-overtime defeat to the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Wells Fargo Center.

Embiid was thrilled to be back after “that (COVID) jawn hit me hard” and resulted in him having trouble breathing and “headaches worse than a migraine.”

“I mean, I really thought I wasn’t going to make it,” said Embiid, who is vaccinated. “It was that bad. I’m thankful to be sitting here.”


A study published in “Food and Chemical Toxicology” described a potential ‘casual link’ to Bell’s palsy.

Per ScienceDirect:

The mRNA SARS-CoV-2 vaccines were brought to market in response to the public health crises of Covid-19. The utilization of mRNA vaccines in the context of infectious disease has no precedent. The many alterations in the vaccine mRNA hide the mRNA from cellular defenses and promote a longer biological half-life and high production of spike protein. However, the immune response to the vaccine is very different from that to a SARS-CoV-2 infection. In this paper, we present evidence that vaccination induces a profound impairment in type I interferon signaling, which has diverse adverse consequences to human health. Immune cells that have taken up the vaccine nanoparticles release into circulation large numbers of exosomes containing spike protein along with critical microRNAs that induce a signaling response in recipient cells at distant sites. We also identify potential profound disturbances in regulatory control of protein synthesis and cancer surveillance. These disturbances potentially have a causal link to neurodegenerative disease, myocarditis, immune thrombocytopenia, Bell’s palsy, liver disease, impaired adaptive immunity, impaired DNA damage response and tumorigenesis. We show evidence from the VAERS database supporting our hypothesis. We believe a comprehensive risk/benefit assessment of the mRNA vaccines questions them as positive contributors to public health.

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