Camden, NJ – The Philadelphia 76ers announced that forward Danny Green tore an anterior cruciate ligament and anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in Philadelphia’s season-ending loss in Game Six of the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Miami Heat Thursday night.
Green was injured when 76ers star Joel Embiid collided with him in the first quarter of Game 6, falling to his left leg after attempting a shot and sending the 13-year-old forward to the ground in a pile. Green initially said he wasn’t aware of the severity of the injury until he tried to walk off the field after spending some time on the court with pain and a sprained knee when he stood.
Green said during an exit interview earlier Friday afternoon, before he got the results from his MRI that morning. “Joel got to the edge, and I saw him put it on…I didn’t know if she got in or not, but I just remember I tripped. I tried to move, but I couldn’t get out fast enough. It happened too fast. But I saw it happen and I was trying to pull my leg out. out, but it got stuck from under me and rolled in.
“I knew that once it happened, I felt it. I knew I couldn’t get back in the game, but I didn’t realize how serious it was until I tried to put more weight on it, and I tripped. Then I realized it might take a while.”
“I heard some voices that were not comfortable.”
Green was saying, when his interview began, that he was optimistic and hoped the injury wasn’t “as bad as it looks” and that he could potentially avoid knee surgery and come back in time to start next season. However, that will no longer be the case, as he will certainly need surgery that will keep him, at least, from the vast majority of the 2022-23 season.
Green, who will turn 35 next month, said it was the first time he had sustained any kind of knee injury in his career and that he had never needed surgery before.
“Bad Kinda,” he said. “Year 13, as you get older, it gets hard to deal with… Not the most fun thing to think about when summer starts. I think the worst of it is just knowing I can’t help the team and watching things unfold as it happened when I wasn’t On Earth… the energy has changed.”
76ers coach Doc Rivers and his Green teammates praised his decision to sit on the bench and cheer on the team in the second half of the game. However, Green said it wasn’t a big decision for him to do so.
Instead, his frustration came that it took so long for the team doctors to let him out there.
“I just thought it was important to be there with them,” Green said. “I was trying to get out earlier, but [doctor] I didn’t think it was a good idea. He wanted to keep swelling down for the MRI and wanted me to stay in the back. But I was like, ‘Let me put my sweatshirt on, and I can sit at a table and watch the game, whether it’s to help with training or encouragement, just to get my energy there for them.
“But if I can’t get out there, I know something is really wrong, so it took me a long time to get out there. But I was able to find a shower and sneak in there in the last couple of minutes…just to see my buddies say goodbye to the fans.”
Greene’s injury ended a season up and down for him, as he was not a regular player for the first time in a decade and had the lowest average points and minutes per game since his first two league seasons, when he was switching back and forth between the NBA and the J-League (which was Later called League D) as a marginal player for the Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs. Green, who won trophies with the Tottenham, Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Lakers, said this was the toughest season of his career. He said that’s the case not just from a personal standpoint but because of everything the team has dealt with as a whole, including the steadfast Ben Simmons to start the season and the acquisition of James Harden in the middle of the year.
“Very much,” Green said. “I will probably have more injuries this year than I’ve had in my overall career combined. Starting, not starting, playing fewer minutes. Injuries alone have been more frustrating than anything else. That’s two years in a row now here at postseason where the injury happens where I think I can help my team so we can get to the next level, we finish and I had to watch from the sidelines. That’s never cool. But, yeah, fix the spin, guys don’t play, they trade, who gets to trade, deals happen, new team, faces New ones, they are trying to adapt and adapt. It has been a very busy year, especially with injuries.”
When asked about what happened over the course of the season with the team playing on the field, Green became the latest player to highlight some version of mental toughness as a problem plaguing the roster.
It’s been remarkable how often they’ve appeared over the past 24 hours, with at least three players – Green, Tobias Harris and George Niang – all highlighting some aspect of mental toughness, intent or focus as something that needs to change going forward.
“We’ve been through a lot all season,” Green said. “There were a lot of distractions, a lot of different things, you know, it was a roller coaster ride. Ups and downs. I think for the most part, we have a lot of guys too. They handled it really well. Very well. But we have a few ways that A must follow when it comes to being mentally tough I think just mental focus and maturity Staying closed for 48 minutes the whole season That comes with some age and maturity So we have a lot of young people, and they get it, they’re just learning some of them haven’t seen or known How he wins. So, learn how to go pro. But I think we have a good foundation. And if we can get everyone back next year, that’s a good start. We’ll be ahead of the curve to start the season.
As for Green himself’s future, he has a $10 million unsecured contract for next season that will be guaranteed on July 1. When asked about Green’s future later on Friday, Daryl Morey, 76ers chief of basketball operations, said it was too early to say what the team would do as his deal moved forward.