Kansas center Joel Embiid is scheduled to have surgery Friday to repair a stress fracture in his right foot, a stunning development that could affect the top choices in next week’s NBA draft.
Embiid, one of the top three candidates the Cleveland Cavaliers were considering for the No. 1 overall pick, fractured the navicular bone in his right foot, agent Arn Tellem said. Embiid will be unable to participate in any additional workouts and will not attend the draft in New York.
Before the injury, Embiid was widely considered to be the front-runner to be taken by the Cavaliers. The versatile 7-footer had a jaw-dropping freshman season with the Jayhawks, averaging 11.2 points and 8.1 rebounds while blocking 72 shots to earn Big 12 defensive player of the year honors.
His combination of nimble feet, powerful athleticism and the soft touch on his jumper prompted comparisons to Hakeem Olajuwon, the former Houston Rockets great. Embiid impressed teams and scouts during workouts in California earlier this month, helping him show he was fully recovered from a stress fracture in his back that caused him to miss the Big 12 and NCAA tournaments. Now, however, he may face a stigma of being injury prone.
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