Rest and rehab is ahead for Kansas University freshman Joel Embiid for at least the next couple days as the 7-footer recovers from an aching knee and sore back.
“He definitely will not practice. The earliest he’d practice is Friday,” KU coach Bill Self said Tuesday night. “We don’t know yet. We’ll see how he feels day to day,” Self added, asked if Embiid would play in Saturday’s 3 p.m., home game against TCU.
Earlier, on his “Hawk Talk” radio show, Self said Embiid had been laboring greatly He sprained his knee in the TCU game on Jan. 25. He tweaked his back at the end of the West Virginia game Saturday.
“Jo is obviously a fabulous player. ... His body does not feel good. He has no strength. He winces when he moves. We see it,” Self said. “Of course we’re going to shut him down for a while.”
MRIs have shown no damage, Self said.
“That thing (injury) that he had against TCU ... if fans remember, we had doctors call us (after watching film) and say, ‘Well, he had to tear his ACL when he did it.’ If he wasn’t a rubber-band man, it could have easily happened,” Self said. “What it is, it’s a serious bone bruise. Every time he walks, it hurts. But it’s nothing structurally he couldn’t deal with. Now the pain has settled in behind his knee a little bit in his hamstring area. There’s swelling and tightness. He doesn’t move near as well. He’s not near as explosive. You add in the back situation ... fortunately it’s nothing that can’t heal up with a little bit of time. He’ll get a lot of treatment here in the next few days and hopefully get his legs back under him.
“If you could imagine a running back who relies on his speed to have a high ankle sprain and is 90 percent and not 100 percent ... you can’t play. You are not effective. That’s been the case with Jo. He tried yesterday (in playing 18 minutes in overtime loss at Kansas State). Whenever he tells me, ‘Coach when I get tired, that’s when I’m really hurting,’ I tell him, ‘Well, don’t get tired, then,’” Self added with a laugh. “It doesn’t exactly work like that.”
Traylor practicing with team: Self said he had not yet decided if red-shirt sophomore Jamari Traylor would miss a second game because of disciplinary reasons. “He’s practicing,” Self said.
Self’s only comment has been that Traylor is out because of “irresponsible behavior.”
Self on KU’s 85-82 defeat in Manhattan: “We didn’t guard anybody. We were horrible defensively, and that’s being kind. It was a step backwards defensively. We had been getting better. It all comes down to toughness level. We didn’t demonstrate as much as you need to beat a good team at (its) home.”