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Kansas center Joel Embiid, who has emerged on the majority of draft boards as the consensus number one pick, will miss some time for the Jayhawks with a sprained knee and unspecified back trouble.

This according to the Associated Press' Dave Skretta:
The 7-footer has been dealing with a sprained knee and back trouble over the last few weeks, and he only played 18 minutes in an 85-82 overtime loss at rival Kansas State on Monday night.

"Joel is beat up. He's beat up," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "I'm not going to make an excuse for him because you have to perform. But he's going to need some time off. I don't know how much time, but he's going to need some time off."

Self said the Jayhawks were hoping to nurse Embiid through the game against Kansas State knowing that they'd have a break before Saturday's game against Big 12 bottom-dweller TCU. Whether Embiid even suits up for that game is unknown.

Considering, knee problems have plagued NBA franchise big men from Bill Walton, to Ralph Sampson, to, most recently, Greg Oden, some may wonder if this will be a red flag to some NBA execs and might affect Embiid's draft status.

Embiid has also vocalized thoughts about returning to Kansas for a second year to get stronger to be ready for the grind of the NBA schedule.

This has to be music to new commissioner Adam Silver's ears who has talked about raising the minimum NBA entrance age to twenty, a directive I am fully in support of:
Embiid wasn't available to reporters after the game, but he said in a recent interview with The Associated Press that he believes he needs to get stronger before entering the NBA, leaving many Jayhawks fans with hope that he'll be back for a second season in Lawrence.

"When I see those guys," Embiid said, "man, they're really big."

Kansas is in a perfect position to rest Embiid for their upcoming run in the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments considering they play the conference bottom dwelling TCU Horned Frogs in Lawrence Saturday.

TCU is 0-10 in Big 12 play this season.

They then play in Lubbock against Texas Tech the following Tuesday.

Tech just beat Oklahoma State, who were ranked #19 at the time, in Lubbock this past Sunday.

Although, this is a game that has become infamous more for All-American OSU guard Marcus Smart shoving a fan and being suspended three games as opposed to the Red Raiders upset.

Still, even though conference road games are always difficult, this game was more of an aberration than anything and Tech should pose little threat to Kansas especially with a healthy Embiid back in the lineup.

Embiid's rest might even be a blessing for Kansas' other freshman phenom Andrew Wiggins.

Wiggins is a combined 16-51 his last four games for the Jayhawks including three for 12 from distance where he is shooting 35% for the season.

Without Embiid on the floor Wiggins should have some opportunities for a couple thunder dunks against the Horned Frogs which improve any players self confidence as the Jayhawks go small theoretically opening up the driving lanes for Kansas' guards.

In the meantime, Kansas was many experts picks to win it all this season and their difficulties have only magnified the fact that this should be one of the most wide open NCAA Tournaments the country has ever seen.

Follow Clint on Twitter @ClintCorey

Clint Corey 2/12/2014 06:51:00 AM Edit
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