The red flags continue to fly for troubled Kansas center Joel Embiid. The former consensus top-three pick is free falling in draft predictions due to his foot injury, but the health concerns don’t stop there.
ESPN’s Chad Ford told “Mike & Mike in the Morning” today that a number of teams have told him Embiid has a rapidly-mounting list of health issues.
“The feedback that I’ve gotten [from team sources] is it’s not just the foot,” Ford said. “That’s the most serious thing, and it’s not just the back. There’s other things coming out of those medical reports that in totality have scared them away.”
Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry already said his team won’t be picking Embiid due to his health problems, and it's likely a number of other teams are thinking the same thing. A foot injury alone has proven to be a career killer for other big men in the past.
The best-case scenario for Embiid is that the back injury that kept him out of the NCAA tournament and the unnamed injuries Ford is referencing won’t bother him in the future. As for his foot injury, Embiid can only hope new medical technology will give him a better shot at making a full recovery.
Nick Grosso, a surgeon at the Center for Advanced Orthopedics, told USA Today that the surgery performed on Embiid has about an 80-percent success rate.
“Surgery is something you go to earlier for athletes [than for non-athletes, who could let it heal],” Grosso said. “One or two screws across the bone to support it. Rebarring concrete. Typically they heal. There’s an 80-percent-plus healing rate.”
If Embiid wasn’t such an extraordinary talent, his injuries would drop him out of the first round. It’s not hard to see why people are comparing him to Greg Oden. But given his enormous potential, it would be a surprise if he’s still on the board after the 15th pick or so.