In the aftermath of No. 7 Kansas’ loss at Kansas State on Monday night, head coach Bill Self noted that freshman center Joel Embiid is a bit “beat up.” Dealing with nagging knee and back issues, Embiid didn’t play as well as the Jayhawks would have hoped against Kansas State.
And with the freshman taking time to rest and recuperate, he won’t be playing on Saturday when the Jayhawks host TCU Saturday according to the Lawrence Journal-World.
“He did not practice today so he will not play tomorrow,” said Self, adding that he’s anticipating that Embiid will play when KU travels to Texas Tech next Tuesday. “We’re hoping he’ll be able to practice by Sunday.”
According to the report Embiid didn’t practice at all this week, and given the issues he’s dealing with it’s best that Embiid get the rest his body needs. Embiid has played no more than 18 minutes in any of Kansas’ last three games, averaging 7.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots during that stretch.
While the rebounding numbers have remained close to his season average (7.8 rpg) Embiid’s points (10.7 ppg for the season) and blocks (2.5 bpg) have dipped, and in those three games he shot just 40% from the field.
With Embiid out of the lineup senior Tarik Black, who’s played at least 21 minutes in each of the last three games (Embiid’s health/effectiveness has impacted this) and averaged 8.3 points and 6.7 rebounds in those contests, will likely see an increase in minutes. The same can likely be said for Perry Ellis, Jamari Traylor and even Landen Lucas in regards to Saturday’s matchup.
Kansas will have bigger games to play, and it’s important that Embiid be at full strength when that time comes.