Joel Embiid to miss the Big 12 Tournament, probably more

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Embiid's back is apparently worse than we feared

Bill Self has now officially ruled Joel Embiid out for the entirety of the Big 12 Tournament, and said that the possibility of Embiid even returning for the first weekend of the NCAA tournament is a "longshot," though a return for the later rounds of the tournament is possible.

It sounds as though Embiid has a stress fracture, which is worse than the initial "strain" diagnosis, but will not require surgery. At this point, it is a possibility that Joel Embiid has played his last game in a Kansas uniform.

While this doesn't render the Jayhawks helpless, it puts more pressure on big men Perry Ellis, Tarik Black, and Jamari Traylor to perform in big situations. None of these players is close to being the rim protector that Embiid is, though Traylor and Black are solid defensively if they can stay out of foul trouble.

This doesn't doom Kansas to an early exit, by any means, but the chances of a title run definitely take a hit with this news. It's hard to say what impact this will have on Embiid's draft stock, but you have to think NBA teams won't be quite so bullish on him now that we knows he's a 7-footer with a lingering back injury.

There's nothing to do at this point but thank our lucky starts that Bill Self was able to bring Tarik Black in this year, and hope the team can rally and make a deep run.

Get well soon, Joel

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