Kansas coach Bill Self says injured center Joel Embiid is “progressing nicely” but won’t play in the team’s first NCAA Tournament game Friday.
“He’s progressing nicely,” Self said Monday. “The medical staff feels good about where he is, but no, there’s no update on a timeframe.”
Kansas is the No. 2 seed in the South and faces No. 15 Eastern Kentucky on Friday in St. Louis. Assuming they win, the Jayhawks would face the winner between No. 7 New Mexico and No. 10 Stanford.
The 7-foot Embiid has been out with a back injury since March 1.
If Embiid doesn’t play in the second game, it’s possible he could return for the Sweet 16.
Assuming Kansas gets out of the first weekend, they could face No. 3 Syracuse in the Sweet 16 in Memphis on March 27.
That could mean a showdown between fellow Canadians and former CIA Bounce teammates Andrew Wiggins of Kansas and Tyler Ennis of Syracuse.
“We need everybody to play a big role in our potential advancement through the tournament because we’ve always been a very balanced, team-oriented group and different guys have always stepped up,” Self said. “And certainly it’s nice to have somebody who can carry you for certain stretches during the game and [Wiggins] is capable of doing that.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.