Before the NBA draft last Thursday, the word around the NBA was that former Kansas freshman star Joel Embiid could go anywhere from No. 1 to somewhere in the mid-to-late first round in the draft due to a fractured foot that was discovered just days ahead of the draft.
That news didn’t seem to bother the Philadelphia 76ers, who selected Embiid with the No. 3 overall pick in last Thursday’s night’s annual draft of first-year talent.
It may not have bothered the 76ers, but there are reports that Embiid was not all that pleased about the prospects of going to the NBA team with the second-worst record in the league this past season.
The website Philly.com reports that the original timetable for Embiid’s recovery from foot surgery was estimated at four to six weeks. Sam Hinkle, general manager and president of basketball operations for the 76ers, days that estimate is too conservative.
“I’ve seen reported some four to six months,” Hinkle said in a press conference the day after the 2014 NBA draft. “but that’s not the number I heard. The number I heard from the surgeon himself was five to eight months.”
An eight-month recovery timetable would make it around mid-February before Embiid could be cleared and ready to make his NBA debut. If Philadelphia is long out of the playoff picture by that time in the season, though, it is a distinct possibility that Hinkle could decide to protect his investment and hold Embiid out of action for the entire season.
“We will focus on the long-term health of the player, that’s all that counts” Hinkle said during his press conference. “We will be smart about that. We will be patient.”
“Right now, I’m just focusing on my recovery,” Embiid said at the press conference when asked about the possibility of missing the entire season next year. “I just want to get back on the court whenever I can, when I feel 110 percent.”