Joel Embiid has officially been ruled out for the Kansas Jayhawks’ game against the Stanford Cardinal on Sunday in the third round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament, according to head coach Bill Self who spoke to ESPN.com.
Embiid has not played since the team’s March 1 loss to Oklahoma State. Kansas is 3-2 without him since he aggravated a back injury he sustained earlier in Big 12 play.
Self maintained it was a long shot that Embiid would play in the opening weekend of the tournament, but there is no certainty he will be able to return should Kansas get past Stanford on Sunday.
Embiid is officially listed as questionable for the Sweet 16, but even his teammate Nadir Tharpe tells ESPN that it’s anyone’s guess when the 7-foot center who averaged 11.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game will return.
“We really don’t know,” Tharpe said. “Some days he feels better than others. I don’t know when he’ll be back.”
With Embiid in the lineup the Jayhawks are a legitimate Final Four team capable of cutting the nets down, but without him, they are vulnerable as we saw for 30-plus minutes against Eastern Kentucky.