Sam Hinkie said selecting Jahlil Okafor third overall was not connected to the situation with Joel Embiid's injured foot.
But the Philadelphia 76ers appear to be legitimately bewildered and worried about Embiid's injury.
"I'd like to think we'd have had the courage to do it anyway," Hinkie responded when asked if he would have still selected Okafor. "I knew and it's hard to unknow where things stood with Joel, but I'd like to think we'd have the courage anyway."
A CT scan of Embiid's foot about a week ago led to the Sixers making the Saturday night release saying things weren't as healed as "anticipated."
"[Embiid] feels really good," Hinkie said. "That's part of what makes this, um, maybe confusing is the right word.
"It's certainly confusing for Joel. He said, 'I can't believe how good I feel and I've felt great for a while.' It seems hard to believe that something is wrong."
Embiid had the surgery on June 20, 2014, which makes it more than 12 months and there are still issues.
"I'll give a timeline that might help clear some things up but might also help show why we're looking so hard to try to understand," Hinkie said. "Joel we've watched like a hawk in rehab every day of the year.
"The nature of navicular injuries and the nature of stress fractures is that you see these slow improvements and then you slow [rehabilitation] down and check things.
"Anytime you get any kind of negative feedback, you unload, slow down and re-assess.
"As part of that, we have a set of pro-active MRIs on Joel, and each of those we sent out to a variety of doctors both internally and externally and ask, "What do you think?' We get the consensus responses and move from there."
There is a feeling the 76ers are being overly cautious since Embiid is symptom-free.
Hinkie said he does not "see how [Embiid] is going to play in the Summer League with the conversations we've been having."