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Kansas center Joel Embiid to miss Big 12 tournament with back issue

Joe Flacco (USATSI)
Joel Embiid is out for the Big 12 tournament. (USATSI)

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Kansas freshman Joel Embiid will definitely miss the Big 12 tournament and likely won't play again this season unless the Jayhawks at least make the Sweet 16 because of a lingering back injury, head coach Bill Self said Monday night.

Embiid met on Monday morning in Los Angeles with a specialist, who confirmed the original stress fracture diagnosis. The 7-foot center is in the middle of the healing process.

"Based on that, this weekend [in the Big 12 Championship] is out," Self said. "Next weekend, we feel like is a longshot. But the doctors are hopeful that if Joel works hard in rehab and progresses, that it is possible that he could play in the later rounds of the NCAA Tournament if our team is fortunate enough to advance."

The injury will not require surgery.

Embiid is projected by some to be the No. 1 pick in June's NBA Draft.

KU is 1-1 in its past two games without Embiid. He's averaging 11.2 points and 8.1 rebounds for the Jayhawks, who won the Big 12's regular-season title by two games.

Gary Parrish is a senior college basketball columnist for CBSSports.com and frequent contributor to the CBS Sports Network. The Mississippi native also hosts the highest-rated sports talk radio show -- The Gary Parrish Show -- in the history of Memphis. He lives in that area with his wife, two children and a dog.
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