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Celtics Medically Cleared Joel Embiid Before 2014 Draft

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If he was there at six, Boston would've taken him.

John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

After the Sixers selection of Joel Embiid in the 2014 NBA Draft, there were some questions posed about if the former Kansas standout received some sort of clearance, or if Philadelphia was just willing to overlook his medical red flags. We may never know for sure, but what we do know is that at least one team in the high lottery felt he was healthy enough to be worthy of their pick.

According to Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald, the Celtics medical staff gave general manager Danny Ainge a thumbs up on Embiid.

"(The Celtics) did have the go-ahead from their medical staff to make that pick," said the source. "They weren’t going to say no to him.

"He had a lot of little things wrong in his medical report, but nothing that anyone thought was going to get in the way of his career. The problem is that the foot is kind of unpredictable because it has less blood flow. That’s why that kind of injury has hindered a lot of people, like Bill Walton.

"But (the Celtics) medical staff knew there was risk, while also believing that it was an issue they could fix."


"I think it’s tough to be too hard on Philly for this," said the source. "A lot of teams would have done the same thing.

Boston held the sixth pick in that draft, and ended up taking Marcus Smart form Oklahoma State.

This report at least makes Embiid's current situation look a whole lot more like bad luck, as opposed to a recurring injury that was easily predictable, which I suppose could be somewhat comforting. Health wise, he was on a path to have a long and prosperous career, even after the initial navicular bone surgery. What has gone wrong in the year since is up for debate.

As Murphy's source mentioned, it's a move Philadelphia can't really be blamed for. The Cameroonian native had (and still should have) the talent to be a game changer in the NBA, and it will always be worth the risk to draft a player like that. You take him 100 times out of 100 if he's there.

Besides, the thought of him dominating for 10-12 years while wearing a Celtics uniform probably would be more demoralizing than Embiid missing two straight seasons anyway.