Sunday, March 1, 2020

Kansas coach Bill Self calls Udoka Azubuike ‘questionable’ for Senior Night

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) lands with an injured ankle during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) lands with an injured ankle during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan., Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)


Udoka Azubuike’s status for the final home game of his college career is in jeopardy, Kansas coach Bill Self said Sunday.

Azubuike, who rolled his right ankle during Saturday’s 62-58 victory over Kansas State in Manhattan is listed as “questionable” for the top-ranked Jayhawks’ home finale against TCU on Wednesday night at Allen Fieldhouse.

“Hopefully he’ll be able to play Wednesday,” Self said during the team’s annual Wilt Chamberlain Special Olympics Clinic. “But we can’t count on that right now.”

Azubuike, who was wearing a walking boot on his right foot during Sunday’s clinic, played just 20 minutes in Saturday’s win after injuring the ankle early in the first half of KU’s 14th consecutive victory.

Self said after the game Saturday that he thought Azubuike would be fine. Twenty-four hours later, the KU coach had a better understanding of Azubuike’s injury.

“He just turned his ankle,” Self said. “But it swelled a lot. … I’m hopeful that he can be ready to go for Senior Night, but I think he’s questionable at this point.”

After being whistled for traveling just before Saturday’s first media timeout, Azubuike fell to the floor under the basket and grabbed his ankle as he went down.

He remained on the floor for several minutes while KU’s medical staff examined the ankle. And he went immediately back to the locker room for further examination after walking off the floor without help.

Azubuike returned to the game with just under 10 minutes to play in the first half and was able to play 10 minutes in both halves. But he was largely ineffective and looked nothing like the player who had dominated recent Kansas games with double-doubles and explosive play. Azubuike was on the bench for the final six minutes of KU’s win.

Azubuike was not the only Jayhawk playing through pain in KU’s latest victory. Junior guard Marcus Garrett, who has been bothered by ankle and foot injuries throughout the 2019-20 season, showed signs of being limited by the lingering injury to the bottom of his left foot against the Wildcats.

“He was hurting yesterday, too,” Self said of Garrett. “But he’s probably going to have to deal with it every day from this point forward.”

Garrett first suffered the foot injury in KU’s home win over Tennessee on Jan. 25 and has been managing it ever since. Self said Garrett would not practice Sunday or Monday but was expected to go Tuesday before Wednesday’s 7 p.m. game versus TCU.

“We’re kind of just trying to get to the finish line right now (of) the regular season, with some guys just nicked up, just having some minor injuries,” Self said Sunday. “Dok’s is obviously the most severe one right now.”


Bryce Landon 1 year, 1 month ago

We cannot lose Udoka again! He is too valuable to us! We have no shot at a Final Four without him in the lineup!

Steve Zimmerman 1 year, 1 month ago

Oh, no! Not again! This has been my, and I think most of us, biggest concern. This season, he falls a lot. But this one, indeed looked like the most serious one. I really hope he'd recover his ankle soon.

Luke Smith 1 year, 1 month ago

Joel Embid part 2. Except this time we have the guards to make up for it. And Silvio will come back now and dominate. He's been a trooper. Now is his time.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 1 month ago

Is this Silvio’s chance again? He’s not back for Sr Night but would be if Dok takes a week or more to heal.

McCormick is really going to have to settle down if he’s our only big.

Len Shaffer 1 year, 1 month ago

I just hope Self doesn't rush Dok back. It's SO much more important for him to be fully healthy when the tournament starts. (And I mean of course the NCAA Tournament and not the meaningless Big XII tournament.)

Jesse Johnson 1 year, 1 month ago

Agree. Give him the rest and let De Sousa get some reps in at TTU and the B12 tourney so that he's ready to contribute in the NCAA tourney, if needed.

Dane Pratt 1 year, 1 month ago

If we have to sacrifice the Big 12 regular season title in order to be healthy when the tournament begins, I'm totally okay with that.

Creg Bohrer 1 year, 1 month ago

I think Self should use the Bob Knight approach.. Let Dok check in for 2 seconds for senior night and then we don't see him again until the national tourney. I also believe we should play the starters a lot less in the b12 tourney, who care's if we lose early the main prize is the national championship.

Dennis Strick 1 year, 1 month ago

As great as Dok has been this year history says he cannot, and we cannot afford to have him sit for two weeks and be effective. He seems to lose his wind and floor speed after missing just a few games. He needs to deal with it this year and get up and down the floor. He needs to deal with the pain threshold. Watching him Saturday I thought a lion had gnawed off his foot, and not a typical bball ankle sprain.

Creg Bohrer 1 year, 1 month ago

I totally agree Dennis, but if that ankle isn't healed he won't be able to show of his conditioning. Also have the problem of him getting rusty while he sits.

Tim Orel 1 year, 1 month ago

Would that mean that Dok might miss his free throws?

David Robinett 1 year, 1 month ago

Rest him and ask Big Dave to step up.

We can beat TCU at home without Dok.

Plus minutes for Dave get HIM ready for the tourney.

Dane Pratt 1 year, 1 month ago

Wonder if Bill regrets putting him back in the game against K-State.

Tony Bandle 1 year, 1 month ago

Random Thoughts:

1] Sit Dok for TCU till the end of the game, put him in and tell him not to move, play one possession, call time out and take him out to a roaring salute from Jayhawk Nation.

2] Then beat TCU to clinch a title no matter what Baylor does and Dok doesn't see the court till Round One of the NCAA.

3] Win the first game of the Tourney then lose the semi and give the whole team a break.

4] In the tourney, I guess Omaha and Indianapolis would be the best locations for the Hawks.

5] Potential Midwest Region Teams could be KU, Dayton, Louisville, Virginia, etc.

6] Duke will get the East Region along with The Little Sisters of the Poor, Texas Home for Unwed Mothers, Helen Keller School of the Blind, St.Louis University Chess Club, Harvard Intramural Champion Runner Up, UCLA Cheer Lead Squad, Sunset Blvd. Nursing Home, etc., etc.

Shannon Gustafson 1 year, 1 month ago

If KU is the #1 overall seed, they get to pick their region. I'd suggest they go South to Houston which would avoid the Midwest (which has the most good teams to potentially end up in it) and also sends Baylor to a region that's not in their backyard.

Carolyn Hunzicker 1 year, 1 month ago

Thanks to ESPN Disney and Kansas agreements with ESPN PLUS, we will not be allowed to watch the last game and senior night....Thanks a hell of a lot

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