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Joel Embiid injury: Kansas star out for Big 12 Tournament

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Embiid is out for the Big 12 Tournament and is a "long shot" for the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas Jayhawks will be without star freshman Joel Embiid in the Big 12 Tournament and possibly the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament, according to head coach Bill Self.

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.

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.