Embiid's latest injury clouds NBA Draft

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Joel Embiid's latest injury could dramatically change one of the most highly scrutinized NBA drafts in recent years.

And it also could end up having a significant impact on the player the Milwaukee Bucks will select with the No. 2 overall pick in Thursday's draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

It was revealed that Embiid, the 7-foot center from Kansas and projected by many experts as the draft's top prospect, had suffered a broken navicular bone in his right foot.

Embiid's agent, Arn Tellem, later released a statement that said the Cameroon native would undergo surgery on the injured foot Friday in Los Angeles and would not attend the draft next week.

The news sent shock waves around the league and also around the Bucks' training facility in St. Francis.

Embiid had been scheduled to work out with Milwaukee this week, but it never happened after a physical exam done by Cleveland's doctors revealed the stress fracture.

Yahoo Sports reported that Cleveland's doctors tested Embiid and the Bucks medical staff tested Duke forward Jabari Parker, with the teams agreeing to exchange results.

Bucks officials did not learn of Embiid's injury until Thursday morning, Yahoo reported.

In the new draft environment, it seems unlikely the Cavaliers would select an injured Embiid with the top overall pick. Embiid could be out from 4 to 6 months with such an injury.

There also were earlier concerns about a back injury Embiid suffered during his freshman season at Kansas, a setback that kept him out of the Big 12 tournament and NCAA Tournament.

Andrew Wiggins, the 6-8 forward from Kansas, and the 6-8 Parker now will be considered the top contenders to be selected first overall.

The Bucks have done careful homework on the top four prospects in the draft, including 6-6 point guard Dante Exum of Australia.

Milwaukee team officials are expected to get another look at Wiggins on Friday at the Cousins Center after traveling to Santa Barbara, Calif., to see him work out last week.

Parker had his physical Monday and worked out for the Bucks in St. Francis on Tuesday.

Exum's workout with the Bucks was held Saturday.

Cleveland, which also picked No. 1 last year, passed on Kentucky big man Nerlens Noel and went with power forward Anthony Bennett in the 2013 draft. Noel slipped to sixth, due to a knee injury that forced him to miss his entire rookie season with the Philadelphia 76ers, and Bennett had a rough rookie season.

The Cavaliers are in the process of hiring a coach so that adds some mystery to the process.

It's uncertain where Embiid will wind up. The 76ers have the third pick and Orlando is fourth. Utah has the fifth pick and is reported to have strong interest in moving up to possibly grab Parker.

Philadelphia worked out Wiggins on Monday and also has brought in Exum for a close look. 76ers coach Brett Brown is familiar with the 18-year-old Exum, because Brown has served as Australia's national team coach and knows the players in the program's youth ranks.

Wiggins was in Cleveland on Wednesday and Thursday before heading to Milwaukee.

Parker is scheduled to work out with the Cavaliers on Friday and may be a bigger consideration for Cleveland following Embiid's injury.

DraftExpress.com immediately updated its mock draft to show the Cavaliers picking Wiggins first overall and Parker going to the Bucks with the No. 2 pick.

Exum was projected as third to the 76ers and Embiid fell to fourth to the Orlando Magic in the updated mock draft. In an earlier version, Embiid was projected as the top overall pick.

ESPN's Chad Ford also had Embiid dropping to No. 4 and the Bucks getting Parker while nba.com's Scott Howard-Cooper revised his mock draft to place Wiggins at No. 2 to Milwaukee and Embiid falling to No. 6 to the Boston Celtics.

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