Tuesday, April 4, 2017

KU big man Udoka Azubuike has successful surgery Tuesday

Self says freshman center 'right on schedule' with rehab

Kansas freshman forward Udoka Azubuike warms up prior to Tuesday's game against UMKC at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas freshman forward Udoka Azubuike warms up prior to Tuesday's game against UMKC at Allen Fieldhouse.


Kansas freshman Udoka Azubuike, who suffered a season-ending injury to his left wrist last December, took another step toward recovery on Tuesday.

“Udoka had surgery today to remove the hardware, the screw, and it went well,” KU coach Bill Self told the Journal-World Tuesday night. “He’s gonna be very limited the next couple weeks. But then he’ll be right back into full rehab.”

The 7-foot freshman who started six of the 11 games he played in during the non-conference portion of KU's schedule, damaged ligaments in the injured wrist during practice just before the Jayhawks’ road victory at UNLV and spent the rest of KU’s 31-5 season as an observer on the bench.

While wearing a couple of different casts on the left wrist, Azubuike remained as involved as he could with the team while working to build the strength back in his wrist. Tuesday’s surgery will result in a two-week break from most activities, but Self said the team was comfortable with the path the big man from Nigeria has been on since the injury.

“He’s been doing all kinds of rehab with his wrist and he’s been doing basketball activity,” Self said. “But just non-contact. We don’t expect him to have contact until June, but all indications are that he is right on schedule. He’s gotta take a couple weeks off from doing that stuff to allow the sutures to heal and that kind of stuff. After that, then he’s back on and we’ll become more aggressive with his rehab, but he’s still non-contact until June.”

Azubuike, whose size, height and length gave KU a different dimension in the front court, finished the season averaging 5.0 points and 4.4 rebounds in 12.9 minutes per game.

As long as the rehab continues to go well, Self said he could envision Azubuike’s minutes at least doubling next season.


Justin Kruse 3 years, 3 months ago

Wonder how good we would have been if the big man didn't get injured this year?

Looking forward to seeing him play next season!

Barry Weiss 3 years, 3 months ago

Dok was progressing like a Nigerian Night Train, from one game to the next each time out this season before the injury. He is our key to a deep run next year. Coach said his minutes (13) per game should "at least" double next year. I like that.

Bryce Landon 3 years, 3 months ago

I wonder if he can get an extension on his eligibility since he played so little this past season? Will the NCAA be that generous?

Chris Teegarden 3 years, 3 months ago

If I remember correctly, from when it happened, he was one game past where he could've taken a medical redshirt. I think Coach said at the time that it didn't matter because he wouldn't be here 4 years anyway.

Creg Bohrer 3 years, 3 months ago

He won't have to worry about it more than likely he'll be draft bound next spring

Barry Weiss 3 years, 3 months ago

I'm so high on this kid, I think we will only have him one full season, maybe two max, so if I'm right, he will be in the NBA before his 4 years are up.

Mike Greer 3 years, 3 months ago

That's got to be the understatement of the season! Lucas managed to stay out of foul trouble, but in doing so, gave up some points for sure.

Creg Bohrer 3 years, 3 months ago

If we have him I think we're in the final four for sure..

Harlan Hobbs 3 years, 3 months ago

Can't disagree with anyone on this. Udoka will need to at least double his minutes next year if KU is to be as successful as we normally expect. Barring any late recruiting coups, he and Dwight Coleby are our only natural post players next year. Mitch and Carlton (if he returns) can help in spot situations, but they won't give us a lot of quality minutes if they have to play the post.

Whatever happens, next year will still be fun to watch, and I am looking forward to it.

Michael Sillman 3 years, 3 months ago

Am I wrong to still be concerned about whether he will truly be fully recovered by the start of the season? We don't have a great track record when it comes to our bigs making it back from injuries. Coleby was clearly not ready to play until late in the season.

Eliott Reeder 3 years, 3 months ago

A knee and a wrist are two very different animals. Plus, it's his non-shooting hand... not that he needs to shoot anything other than free throws. I'm just afraid that he dunks so hard he might hurt himself again.

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