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Kansas center Udoka Azubuike injures knee and will not play in Big 12 tournament

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Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) fights for position with West Virginia forward Sagaba Konate (50) and West Virginia guard Jevon Carter (2) during the second half, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike (35) fights for position with West Virginia forward Sagaba Konate (50) and West Virginia guard Jevon Carter (2) during the second half, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Kansas center Udoka Azubuike suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee during a scrimmage in Tuesday's practice and will not participate in the Big 12 tournament, KU basketball coach Bill Self announced this afternoon.

"We will hold him out this weekend in Kansas City and he will be reevaluated Sunday and our expectation is that he'll be back on the court next week," Self said. Self said the sprain, "is isolated. It is a Grade 1 sprain."

A Grade 1 sprain is the least severe and means that a ligament has been stretched but not torn.

Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors suffered a similar injury two years ago and missed two weeks.

Comments

Robert Brock 9 months, 1 week ago

No need to even pop any popcorn. Season over.

Sae Thirtysix 9 months, 1 week ago

MLightfoot - lace 'em up tight. SDe Sousa - welcome to the party pal.

David McNickle 9 months, 1 week ago

I hope this is a "we didn't want to play 3 games in a row" injury.

Ryan Zimmerman 9 months, 1 week ago

Well at least we have our depth at big man... err.... i mean we can play guards since we have good quality depth there....errr...

Hey next year, though! Looking good

Pius Waldman 9 months, 1 week ago

It is difficult to say how this will affect play. Could be the bringing out of DeSousa.

Chad Smith 9 months, 1 week ago

YIKES. Well hopefully he can come back for NCAA's. Or maybe we can sneak out a 1st round win and he can come back for round 2. Geez, this is not good.

I'm usually more optimistic, but I can't really see us going far without him this season.

Bryce Landon 9 months, 1 week ago

I wasn't sure we were going to go far this postseason even with him.

Chad Smith 9 months, 1 week ago

probably right, but really I see this as a great opportunity for our other frontcourt players to step up and get some meaningful minutes against whoever play as both OU and OSU both need victories right now for their respective resumes.

Joe Ross 9 months, 1 week ago

Doke might even miss the first week of the tournament, Im guessing. Could be that we'll have to play the rounds of 64 and 32 without him.

Tony Bandle 9 months, 1 week ago

Random Thoughts:

1] A three game season sweep by Okie State of KU just got a bit more realistic.

2] Kiss the Number One Seed in the West good bye. [I'm not sure that's such a bad thing].

3] Is it too late to clone a couple more Devontes?

4] When all was said and done and the parking lot has emptied, did any of you, in your heart of hearts, actually believe KU had what it took to make a run to the title game? I didn't think so.

5] It's all about the match ups. A run to the Sweet Sixteen without Dok would be awesome. Even with Dok who, if he plays, will be compromised to some degree.

6] If or when Dok is declared out for the season, play a five guard three point offense with a zone defense that crowds the three point line.

7] If nothing else, this will pays dividends next year with the continued growth of Lightfoot and the invaluable bonus experience for De Sousa.

8] Thanks Preston, Whitman and Coleby.

9] I guess it's Lightfoot, Newman, Vick, Svi and Graham with Garrett and De Sousa off the bench. Sam I Am may get to play simply out of sheer desperation!

10] NEVER GIVE UP...NEVER SURRENDER!!!

Dave Miller 9 months, 1 week ago

regarding item #3 -- Is too late to clone a couple of Thomas Robinson, Cole Aldrich, Jeff Withey, and a young Danny Manning ??? :)

Joe Ross 9 months, 1 week ago

2.) Agree about #1 seed being gone, but I think its closer than most might think (based on Kansas' body of work: Q1 and Q2 wins).

3.) I'd clone extra 'Dokes instead. 'Bout 3 of 'em.

4.) If we were firing on all cylinders on the perimeter, and Doke, Lightfoot and DeSousa were ALL playing well in the post, then yes. But that's a pipe dream. The answer to your question is NO!

8.) LOL!

Steve Jacob 9 months, 1 week ago

The problem here is Bill Self will tell everyone how ready he will play in the NCAA's because it would affect seeding. Don't trust anything until Monday.

Dirk Medema 9 months, 1 week ago

Huge opportunity for Silvio though it feels more like we're headed towards deja vue.

Bob Thompson 9 months, 1 week ago

KU didn't play Udoka much at the beginning of the year due to his inexperience and foul problems. We will need to change our style back to run and gun. I think we can do it, but it will take EVERYONE to play their best. Lagerald and Malik will have to be on their game or it will be lights out.

Doug Longstaff 9 months, 1 week ago

I think maybe you're thinking of last year, Bob. Kansas has consistently played Udoka for about the same amount of time all year this season. He's averaged 24.3 minutes per game. His average for the first 10 games of the year....25.2.

There is no way to overstate the importance of Azubuike to this team. If he catches it low it's sure of a thing as there is in college basketball. If you dedicated resources to denying him or doubling him, there will be an open shooter, plain and simple.

He's also getting 20% of the rebounds on a BAD rebounding team.

We won't go far without him.

Dirk Medema 9 months, 1 week ago

Definitely takes pressure/expectations off of this week.

Bill Cushing 9 months, 1 week ago

Definately need to have fresh Double A's in Devonte!

Bryce Landon 9 months, 1 week ago

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

Gary Wirsig 9 months, 1 week ago

Will he use his spare time to work on free throws?

Bryce Landon 9 months, 1 week ago

Come on, man, really? One of our guys sprains his knee and you crack on him for his free throw shooting? That's bad taste, man. You're better than that.

Michael Sillman 9 months, 1 week ago

Amazing how this sort of thing happens every year about this time. In the future Self needs to put bubble wrap on the critical players and keep them out of practice.

Bryce Landon 9 months, 1 week ago

No, it doesn't. The only times I can remember that it happened were to Kevin Pritchard in 1988 and to Joel Embiid in 2014. And when we lost Cliff Alexander in 2015, it was because of eligibility issues, not to injury.

Titus Canby 9 months, 1 week ago

Let's just do the same thing we did in '88 when Pritchard got injured. I'll go for that.

Bryce Landon 9 months, 1 week ago

I'd go for that too. The problem is, Cinderella stories like Danny and the Miracles are once-in-a-lifetime deals.

Titus Canby 9 months, 1 week ago

One good thing about this team - I don't expect anyone to play soft in the NCAA tournament for fear of getting injured and hurting the draft chances. I think we'll get lots of hustle out of this team... next week. All Haase and no Wiggins.

Kurt Eskilson 9 months, 1 week ago

And didn't Haase finish the season with a broken – at least cracked – wrist?

Tony Bandle 9 months, 1 week ago

By skipping the Big 12 Tourney, and assuming KU can beat their first round NCAA opponent without Dok, that would give him 10 - 11 days, depending on the schedule, to bring the knee back up to 80% - 90%.

That does NOT sound like a totally impossible goal.

Think where we would have been if Silvio had not been able to start early. At the very least, he allows us five more fouls to give at the center position.

Corey Sparks 9 months, 1 week ago

Honestly those grade one knee sprains take about 1-2 weeks to "heal." Dok is a 7 footer so I'd wager that it'll take him a bit longer to heal. I honestly think we shouldn't play him in the first or second round. If we manage to get out of that, that'll give him 15-16 days recovery.

Selection Sunday has suddenly turned into Doke Evaluation day.

Brett McCabe 9 months, 1 week ago

I trust that Self will do what's right for the player, and I agree with an earlier poster that Self's comments are intended to hold as high a see as possible. Nevertheless, I agree with you. Put it on the rest of the team to get to week 2. Who knows, maybe Silvio will be able to relax knowing that he plays until he fouls out or until the game is over.

David Robinett 9 months, 1 week ago

Best case: Silvio gets minutes and gets comfortable. MMalik and LaGerald step up.

Worst case: first ever loss of a number one seed to a number 16

Dale Koch 9 months, 1 week ago

We won’t be a #1 Seed. We lose tomorrow. We will be a 2 for sure. Duke gets our #1.

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