Kansas coach Bill Self on Wednesday explained the school’s decision to reveal that freshman center Joel Embiid had a stress fracture in his back after previously declining to name the specific injury.
KU released a statement on Monday that Embiid would miss the Big 12 Tournament and probably the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament after he met with a spine specialist in Los Angeles. It was the first time KU had publicly mentioned a “stress fracture.”
Self said someone in the media had become aware of the specifics of Embiid’s back injury. If not for that development, Self says, he would have stayed mum on Embiid’s specific back problem. Last week, when KU announced that Embiid would be shut down for the regular season, the statement called the injury a “lower-back strain,” but Self later told The Star the injury was more “significant.”
“Why hide it if you think that it could possibly leak anyway?” said Self, who was at the Sprint Center for his team’s shootaround before its Big 12 quarterfinal game Thursday.
Self also explained why he said Embiid was “100 percent” to play in the postseason before he announced Monday that Embiid would likely be out until the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
On Wednesday, Self acknowledged that KU might need to advance to the Sweet 16 for that to be true. The specific quote, Self said, was “I’m 100 percent, in my heart, that he’ll play in the postseason.”
Self also confirmed that Kansas’ medical staff first learned of the stress fracture injury after the Jayhawks’ returned home from a road loss at Oklahoma State on March 1. While Embiid missed a week of action in mid February with back issues, tests and MRI’s on Embiid’s back did not reveal a stress fracture.