Kansas announced on Monday night that Embiid has a stress fracture in his back. Embiid recently visited a back specialist in Los Angeles. The 7-footer did not play in KU's final two games of the regular season, and he also missed a game against TCU in mid-February. The Jayhawks are 2-1 without Embiid in their lineup.
Bill Self on Joel Embiid: "It is possible that he could play in the later rounds of the NCAA Tournament."— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) March 11, 2014
What "later rounds" means is anyone's guess. It seems unlikely Embiid will play in either the second or third round, though KU should be able to survive without him anchoring the paint. Where Kansas could be exposed is in the Sweet 16 and beyond if Embiid is unable to get back on the floor. The Jayhawks just aren't the same team without him.
Embiid averaged 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game this season. Look for senior Tarik Black to see an expanded role with Embiid on the bench. Black does not provide the defensive presence Embiid does, but he is a senior with NCAA Tournament experience and scored 19 against Texas Tech on March 5 while filling in for Embiid.