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NBA All-Star Joel Embiid has Bell's palsy. Here's what that means

The condition, which causes facial paralysis or weakness, is affecting the left side of his face.
Knicks 76ers Basketball
Posted at 2:34 PM, Apr 26, 2024

NBA All-Star Joel Embiid is suffering from Bell’s palsy.

The 76ers Philadelphia player revealed his diagnosis after his team’s Game 3 playoff win against the New York Knicks on Thursday night.

He wore sunglasses, and he described that the condition was affecting the left side of his face, including his mouth and eye.

"It’s pretty annoying,” Embiid said during a post-game press conference.

Bell’s palsy is a neurological disorder that causes facial paralysis or weakness on one side of the face, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

“It’s been tough, but I’m not a quitter. Gotta keep fighting through anything,” Embiid said. “It’s unfortunate, that’s the way I look at it.”

Bell’s palsy can cause significant facial drooping, difficulty closing an eyelid, and drooling, the NIH says. Sufferers usually recover some or all facial function within a few weeks to several months. In some cases, facial weakness may last longer or be permanent.

A virus or facial infection could trigger the disease, though an exact cause is unknown.

Bell’s Palsy is treated with steroids and other medications, eye protection, therapies or surgery, says the NIH.

Embiid’s diagnosis came amid his ongoing recovery from a knee injury for which he had surgery in February.

“The one thing I’m not going to do is give up. No matter what happens. Gotta keep pushing, gotta keep fighting. Gotta keep putting my body on the line for my family, for this city, for this team,” Embiid said.

Despite his health struggles, the center put up a whopping 50 points in Thursday night’s game. He also had eight rebounds and four assists.

The 76ers defeated the Knicks 125 to 114.