Joel Embiid's NBA career is not expected to start during the 2015-16 season as the Philadelphia 76ers had hoped. The No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft will miss all of next year with lingering foot problems.
Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Embiid will need another surgery on his right foot.
A different source told Pompey the 76ers are concerned this latest setback for Embiid "could be career-threatening."
76ers Director of Public Relations Michael Preston provided a statement on Embiid's injury, confirming the big man will miss the season:
This is a nightmare scenario for the 76ers, even with their depth at center. Embiid was arguably the top prospect in his draft class before suffering a stress fracture in his right foot in June 2014 that required surgery.
Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix noted why Embiid's absence is so bad for the 76ers:
Betting on his potential and ability to recover, the 76ers still took Embiid with the third pick. He sat out all of last season recovering, but the team said in June prior to the 2015 draft that the 7-footer suffered a setback and was working to determine the next steps.
Philadelphia general manager Sam Hinkie told reporters (via Tom Moore of MCall.com) after the 76ers took another center, Duke's Jahlil Okafor, with the third pick in this year's draft that Embiid's injury may have played some role in the decision.
"I'd like to think we would've had the courage to do it anyway," said Hinkie. "I really do. It's kind of hard to know because I knew and it's hard to 'un-know' where things stood with Joel."
Embiid's next chance to play in a regular season game would be October 2016. That would put him at 31 months since his last real action in March 2014 with Kansas.
The 76ers do still have Okafor and Nerlens Noel on the roster to play center, but getting nothing out of a top-three pick for two full years is going to make it difficult for Philadelphia to escape the purgatory it has been in since last making the playoffs in 2012.