The upcoming draft has been regarded as one of the most anticipated drafts in a long time. This took a turn for some of the potential future NBA players when health issues surfaced.
The first came almost two weeks ago when a possible issue with former Kentucky power forward Julius Randle’s foot surfaced. Randled broke his foot in high school and some believed it didn’t heal properly. After the reports came out, Randle took to Twitter, denying any problems with the foot.
Former Kansas center Joel Embiid missed the postseason because of back problems, but was expected to be okay. However, on Friday at Southern California Orthopedic Institute, Embiid underwent surgery as two screws were inserted into his foot. His recovery time is expected to be four to six months and he’s taking it rather well. This, no doubt, will affect where he goes in the draft (Embiid was projected to go first overall).
The most recent and probably the most devastating health issue came when fellow Baylor Bear Isaiah Austin was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome Saturday night. An EKG during a physical at the NBA combine revealed the abnormality. Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder that weakens the connective tissue in the body. In Austin’s case, it caused an enlargement in his heart, making strenuous activities like playing basketball potentially fatal. As a result, he won’t be able to make his dream of playing in the NBA come true. Austin appeared on SportsCenter Sunday morning to announce the crushing discovery.
Austin has overcome other health conditions, including shoulder surgery last year and having a prosthetic eye after a baseball injury when he was younger. With the draft three days away, the new diagnosis was a major disappointment for Austin, but he remains optimistic about his future. Many are hoping he is able to return to Baylor to finish his education and help out in the coaching department (granted, he gets his scholarship back).
The health issues and concerns will no doubt affect these young men and their future in basketball. Randle and Embiid will both get drafted, but may drop because of the issues mentioned above. They’re both still very young, so once they are 100 percent healthy, they can look forward to a prosperous career in the NBA. Unfortunately, Austin won’t have that opportunity, but can look forward to a possible career in coaching.
Best of luck to all three of these young men in the future!