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Joel Embiid, a star freshman center at Kansas and the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, will not play in this week's Big 12 tournament and is doubtful to be able to compete during the NCAA tournament's first weekend.

Embiid was in Los Angeles on Monday seeing a back specialist, a second opinion Self termed "precautionary." That physician confirmed the initial diagnosis Embiid had received last week at Kansas of a stress fracture in his back. The injury will not require surgery, and Embiid is expected to return to basketball activity within weeks.

"Based on that, this weekend (in the Big 12 Championship) is out," Self said. "Next weekend, we feel like is a longshot, but the doctors are hopeful that if Joel works hard in rehab and progresses that it is possible that he could play in the later rounds of the NCAA Tournament if our team is fortunate enough to advance."

Embiid sat out the Jayhawks' final two regular season games after aggravating the back in a March 1 loss at Oklahoma State.

Earlier Monday, Self had said he was not sure if Embiid will practice or play this week and that Embiid's back is still tight, but he has been running in the pool. Embiid has not returned to on-court practice.

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"Everyone is 100 percent confident that Joel will heal and be back to normal soon, but the most important thing is that he gets well," Self said. "We're certainly not going to put him out there unless the doctors, his family and Joel are ready for him to go. I know how bad he wants it, and that he will work his butt off to put him in a position where if our team is successful and fortunate enough to advance, he could return in later rounds."

Embiid has been projected by some as the likely No. 1 pick in the June NBA draft. "When he's healthy and playing well, he has the potential to impact the game on both ends as much as anybody in the country," Self said. "You can play through him offensively, and certainly he's as good a rim protector as there is defensively."

Follow college sports senior editor Daniel Uthman on Twitter at @DanUthman.

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