WALTHAM --- Kansas center Joel Embiid had been widely considered a candidate for the number one pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. However, a new injury may cause his draft stock to take a significant dip.
Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com is reporting that doctors have discovered Embiid has suffered a right foot injury.
UPDATE: Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports is now reporting that Embiid has suffered a stress fracture in his right foot and will undergo surgery on Friday. He will be sidelined for several months.
"He suffered a foot injury to his right foot sometime over the last few days,'' agent Arn Tellem told ESPN's Andy Katz by phone Thursday. "He's getting evaluations from various doctors and experts in the field. We'll know more Friday.'' One source told ESPN.com that Embiid "may have broken" his foot, but Tellem wouldn't speculate on the seriousness of the injury until he had heard from doctors. Tellem also said it was unlikely Embiid would be doing any more workouts before the draft, which is June 26.
Embiid has also dealt with lingering concerns from teams about the back injury that forced him to miss the Big 12 and NCAA Tournament back in March.
The extent of the foot injury is not yet known, but draft experts are already speculating that Embiid’s draft position will take a serious hit if the foot is broken.
Cleveland doctors discovered right foot injury in exams and passed info onto Embiid reps, sources tell Yahoo. Fear is a right foot fracture.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 19, 2014
Embiid's consulting w/ orthopedist Dr. Richard Ferkel in L.A.; determination on fracture and possible surgery expected soon, sources tell Y.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 19, 2014
Embiid was slated to work out for Milwaukee later this week. Worked out for Cleveland already. Now question is whether he slips and how far.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) June 19, 2014
Cavs, Bucks & Sixers in the dark on this. Waiting like the rest of us for report on Embiid's foot on Friday. If it's serious, he slides.— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 19, 2014
Embiid’s injury could change the entire dynamic of the first round and present a host of new questions for the Celtics. First, is it possible that Embiid could fall to the sixth overall pick if Embiid’s foot is broken? And if he does fall, would the Celtics have interest in drafting the injury-plagued big man despite the foot issue? Additionally, how would this development affect Boston’s potential pursuit of Kevin Love? Bill Simmons shared some thoughts on all of these possibilities.
If/when Cavs take Jabari, Bucks are screwed (they wanted Jabari) + Sixers are screwed (they wanted Wiggins). Could Embiid drop to Bos or LA?— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) June 19, 2014
Also - major ramifications for Boston's potential Kevin Love deal. Can't see them giving up the farm for Love if Embiid might fall to 6.— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) June 19, 2014
Also hearing that Arn Tellem wanted Embiid to go first... but if that can't happen, he's going to push hard to steer him to Boston or LA.— Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) June 19, 2014
There’s no question that one of the greatest needs on the Celtics right now is a rim-protecting big man, so you can bet the Celtics will strongly consider Embiid if he is available.
Boston Celtics director of player personnel Austin Ainge spoke about the potential impact of the injury on Embiid’s draft stock today in Waltham.
“Those are always concerns,” Ainge admitted when speaking about Embiid's injury, “Especially when it’s a player like that we won’t be able to have in to evaluate, to really get the risks from our medical staff. There’s a lot of guesswork involved, but you are always trying to weight short-term and long-term.”
Ainge continued: “We try to think long-term that if a guy has to miss a couple months, it shouldn’t deter us from taking him if he is going to be the best player long-term. We’ve had some success with that with [Avery] Bradley and [Jared] Sullinger. There can be some value there, but there’s always risk.”
For now, the Celtics, like other teams around the league, must wait for Embiid’s diagnosis before considering what’s next.