Joel Embiid will sit out the remaining two games of the regular season due to a strained lower back according to Bill Self during his weekly television interview with Time Warner Cable Sports Channel. He will be reevaluated on Sunday, March 9th.
Embiid tweaked his back with about five minutes left in the game on Saturday and left the game to do stretches. While Embiid returned to the game, he clearly struggled with the injury. According to the Journal-World, he shed a few tears talking to a parent of a KU player before boarding the team bus.
“I think he’s OK for the long term, don’t get me wrong on that,” Self said Monday during the Big 12 teleconference. “I’m not really sure if in fact how long or if we’re going to need to rest him. It’s a similar thing as before, a lower back strain basically,”
Joel Embiid, who is averaging 11.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, has already missed one game due to injury this season. Embiid sat out against TCU on February 15th. Since returning, Embiid has scored 56 points, blocked 11 shots and grabbed 41 rebounds in four games. He had a double double in his last two games.
“He certainly benefited from the five days before that we gave him off (in mid February),” Said said on Monday. “Still obviously he’s not close to being 100 percent because he reaggravated it (back) in the Oklahoma State game (Saturday). Hopefully if we do give him some time off — which I would probably right now think that’s what we’ll go to is to give him a little bit of time — I don’t know how long. Certainly I don’t think it’ll be anything that would affect the postseason.”
Kansas faces Texas Tech in the final home game of the season on Wednesday before heading to West Virginia on Saturday to finish out the regular season. The Jayhawks already have a first round bye in the Big 12 tournament and will play at 2 pm on Thursday, March 13th.