BOSTON, MA – JANUARY 6: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts after fouling out of the game against the Boston Celtics in the fourth quarter at TD Garden on January 6, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeat the 76ers 110-106. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that , by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

PHILADELPHIA – The once-promising season for the Philadelphia 76ers took another sad turn today when franchise centerpiece Joel Embiid was seriously mauled while attempting to “Raise the Cat” for a team promotional shoot. Embiid has missed the last month of the season with a knee bruise, but was filming an ad spot this morning about the new Sixers fan tradition of raising a cat after each victory. The attack occurred just seconds into the shoot, witnesses say.

“Joel is being treated at Penn Presbyterian Hospital as we speak,” confirmed team general manager Bryan Colangelo. “I ask you all to keep him in your thoughts and prayers.”

The incident occurred when Embiid lifted a common house cat over his head for a photographer, but the cat immediately defecated in his eyes. Startled, the center dropped the cat on his face, which caused the cat to “go wild,” according to one eye witness. “It dug into his face and neck,” said a team source. “I think it even scratched into an artery. It was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen, and I work for the Sixers.”

Embiid’s accident comes one day after the Sixers traded former 1st Round pick Nerlens Noel to Dallas for essentially nothing and just hours after 2016 No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons was declared out for the season. News also broke today that a rare and aggressive strain of feline AIDS is running rampant through Philadelphia and all of the cats in the city and the surrounding counties are expected to be dead by the weekend.

“It’s been a tough few days,” said Colangelo. “But this team is about the future. We hope Joel recovers to the point of being able to play again one day. We love his potential as a trade piece to fetch a few 2nd Round picks.”

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