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Joel Embiid's status uncertain after MRI on his back is negative

Joel Embiid had an MRI done on his back, and his status for the near future remains up in the air

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Self announced that center Joel Embiid had an MRI done on his back Wednesday, confirming the mounting concerns about Embiid's health after a string of rough performances. Though Self confirmed that nothing signficant was found in the course of the MRI, he was vague about Embiid's status for the near future, saying he didn't know how long Embiid would be held out, or how many games he might miss, if any.

I think it's safe to say Embiid will sit this Saturday as Kansas faces a TCU team that is 0-11 in conference and lost to Baylor by 33 last night. In recent games, Embiid hasn't been the force he was in early conference play, lacking the lightning-quick first step that was getting him to the basket so often in Kansas' 7-0 run to start their Big 12 slate. He's averaging just 17.3 minutes per game over the last three games, 5 under his season average, and fans have generally agreed that he just hasn't looked like himself.

After TCU, Kansas faces a suddenly surging Texas Tech team in Lubbock next week, so ideally one would like to see Embiid sit out the TCU game and come back refreshed for the upcoming slate of games. We all know Embiid's story, and that he lacks a lot of basketball experience, so missing a long stretch of games would likely hurt his development a bit more than the average player. The good news is that Embiid appears to just be a bit worn down, as Self didn't mention any diagnosis of a specific injury, which should mean quicker recovery time.