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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Kansas freshman center Udoka Azubuike’s surgery deemed success

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) pounds his chest after a dunk during the second half, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse. At right is Long Beach State forward LaRond Williams.

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) pounds his chest after a dunk during the second half, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse. At right is Long Beach State forward LaRond Williams.

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Kansas freshman center Udoka Azubuike won’t be returning to the court any time soon, but the 7-footer and his coaches received some good news about his injured left wrist.

Azubuike, who tore ligaments in his wrist during a late-December practice, had successful surgery Wednesday morning, according to KU head coach Bill Self.

"The doctors informed us the procedure on Udoka was a complete success and we expect a full recovery by mid-summer," Self said in a release.

Azubuike traveled to Akon, Ohio, for the procedure, where Dr. Thomas Graham of Northwell Health of New York served as the lead surgeon.

Azubuike played in just 11 games for Kansas before suffering the season-ending injury. The 17-year-old big man from Nigeria averaged 5.0 points and 4.4 rebounds in 12.9 minutes, and started his final six games for the Jayhawks (13-1).

Even after missing the previous three games, Azubuike remains the team’s second-leading shot blocker on the season, with 18, trailing fellow freshman Josh Jackson’s 19.

In his absence, senior Landen Lucas has returned to the starting lineup and produced consecutive double-doubles, but KU’s frontcourt depth took a hit with Azubuike’s injury. Lucas and sophomore forward Carlton Bragg Jr. are the only traditional big men Self trusts with extended minutes at this juncture of the season.

Comments

Tom Keegan 3 years, 1 month ago

Decision on those usually comes at end of player's four years after school applies. I highly doubt that Udoka will be at Kansas for four years. The NBA will want him well before that time.

Scott Smetana 3 years, 1 month ago

It sure would be nice to have him back in a month, even if he was in a wrist brace.

Brett McCabe 3 years, 1 month ago

Like those defensive lineman who play in a cast, right? Here's the solution: give him a hard cast, put his fingers in a fan formation and turn it into a shot blocking menace.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 1 month ago

It would be nice but one thing I've noticed about HCBS is that he always protects his players. Embiid is a good example of a player who probably could have played in the NCAA and might have if he was on another team but Coach Self doesn't take chances with his players future.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 1 month ago

Kansas doesn't do any half measures when it comes to getting the best to take care of their players! I suppose the type of insurance the team carries has a lot to do with the selection. www.cleveland.com/healthfit/index.ssf...

Pius Waldman 3 years, 1 month ago

Or maybe Suzi a specialist on wrist surgery in Cleveland.

Len Shaffer 3 years, 1 month ago

Not that I doubt the news, and of course I'm glad to hear it, but can anyone remember the last time that a player's surgery (anywhere) was NOT deemed successful?

Eliott Reeder 3 years, 1 month ago

We must just be cynical Len, because I thought the same thing! Only time will tell how successful the surgery actually was.

Harlan Hobbs 3 years, 1 month ago

Next year will likely be Udoka's last one at KU. He just has too much upside for the NBA not to take him as soon as he is eligible.

Losing him this year is a big blow, as it would have been a great lead in to next year and given us the depth that we sorely need, not that Landen and Carlton aren't trying their best to "hold the fort."

RJ King 3 years, 1 month ago

If he can maintain his weight and conditioning, plus shoot free throws one-handed, he should be much further along by next summer. He'll know our system and have a big head start over the beginning of this season.

If not Dok 2.0, at least maybe Dok 1.3

Scott Smetana 3 years, 1 month ago

Right now I'd be happy with Dok 0.8, back in time for post-season. We need the big body.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 1 month ago

Given his age, I can easily see him staying 2 more seasons at KU. He is a long way from being NBA ready and he is at a great place to develop his game.

Then again, maybe I'm just hoping he stays.

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