News broke yesterday that potential number one pick Joel Embiid suffered a stress fracture in his right foot. Later, a report surfaced that one anonymous general manager wouldn’t take Embiid with a top five pick. Time will tell as to how this latest injury could affect Embiid longterm, but he took the first step to recovery on Friday by having successful surgery on the broken navicular bone in his right foot.
ESPN.com shed further light on Embiid’s surgery with remarks from Arn Tellem, his agent, and Dr. Richard Frenkel, the surgeon who performed the procedure.
Joel Embiid, one of the top prospects in this year’s NBA draft, had two screws inserted into his foot during surgery Friday morning.
Embiid’s agent, Arn Tellem, revealed in a statement that the former Kansas star underwent the procedure at Southern California Orthopedic Institute.
The surgeon, Dr. Richard Ferkel, said that Embiid “tolerated the surgery without difficulty” and claimed that the 7-foot center should “be able to return to NBA basketball.”
“Two screws were inserted into the navicular bone in Joel Embiid’s right foot,” Ferkel said in the statement released by Tellem. “The surgery went very well and I’m confident that after appropriate healing he will be able to return to NBA Basketball. Joel tolerated the surgery without difficulty and will begin his rehabilitation in the near future.”
According Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Embiid will be sidelined anywhere from four to six months. The 2014-2015 season begins in late October.
In an ESPN Insider article posted yesterday, Kevin Pelton examined the careers of other big men throughout NBA history that have suffered a stress fracture to their navicular bone. The list is star-studded and includes legends Yao Ming, Kevin McHale, and Bill Walton. Though there was no blanket statement to be made in assessing the profiles of each player, the notable cases of Yao and Walton paint a potentially fragile future for Embiid.
When considering the impact of Embiid’s navicular injury on his draft stock, the severity is hard to overstate. Not only could it potentially keep him off the floor all of next season, the chance of recurrence will always linger. There’s a hope that, like Zydrunas Ilgauskas, he could eventually enjoy a long and productive career. But teams picking at the top of the draft must also be prepared for the possibility that Embiid misses multiple seasons or even has his career cut short.
We said yesterday that teams in the top-five would be foolish to pass on Embiid if he was one of the top three players on their board and still believe it. A successful surgery is only good news. Pelton’s deflating analysis, however, is certainly something teams will and should consider come next Thursday night.
Will Embiid overcome his injuries in the NBA?
Follow Jack on Twitter at @ArmstrongWinter.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.