Kansas coach Bill Self on Wednesday explained the school’s decision to reveal that freshman Joel Embiid had a stress fracture in his back after previous declining to name the specific injury.
KU released a statement on Monday that Embiid would miss the Big 12 Tournament and likely 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 said, 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.” Self said.
Self also pushed back against criticism that he said he was “100 percent” that Embiid would play in the postseason before he announced Monday that Embiid would likely be out until the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
The specific quote, Self said, was “I’m 100 percent, in my heart, that he’ll play in the postseason.”
On Wednesday, Self acknowledged that KU might need to advance to the Sweet 16 for that to be true.
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.