Kansas guard Remy Martin’s string of bad luck continued on Monday night, when his injured knee was bumped by a Texas fan during the court storming that followed 8th-ranked KU’s 79-76 loss to the Longhorns in Austin, Texas.
Kansas coach Bill Self shared the news on his "Hawk Talk" radio show on Tuesday night while explaining that there were issues with which way the Jayhawks were supposed to leave the court during the celebration.
When asked on Monday night if KU had any trouble getting off the court after the game, Self said, “It was fine.”
On Tuesday, however, Self further explained the issues that KU faced, which led to Martin having his sore right knee “bumped” by a UT fan.
“I am not going to complain about that at all,” Self said of the court storming. “It was a good win for them and all that stuff. But (the Texas security wasn’t) prepared for the court being rushed. I don’t know if you noticed on TV. They kind of didn’t have any idea where we were supposed to go. We went out this one way and the police officers are trying to figure out which tunnel to take us out of and all that stuff. Their kids didn’t do anything wrong, I’m not even hinting that.”
Self said he believed the aggravation to the bone bruise on Martin’s injured knee that has kept Martin out of the last three games — and seven games in all this season — was “minor.”
“Now does it set him back longer? I don’t think that,” Self said on “Hawk Talk." “But it’s just so tender for him right now that something that could appear to be so minor could still be significant to him because he’s still so sore.”
Self then elaborated on Martin’s status, even getting into his hopes and concerns about when Martin might be able to return.
“He’s not going to play this week,” Self said of Saturday’s home game against Oklahoma. “We’ve done more MRIs and everything; it’s just sore. The doctors certainly understand it. He's not going to play this week and we’ll keep him out, and we’ll re-evaluate again next week. We’ve already made the decision on what we are going to do the rest of the week.”
Self said Martin was frustrated by how much the injury has impacted him and the fact that it has kept him from playing.
“He said, ‘Nobody’s seen me play since I’ve been here,’” Self shared of Martin’s frustrations with the injury. “I said, ‘I know. I know.’ He wants to be out there.”
So what happens when he is? Self got into that, as well.
“He’ll have a role,” Self said Tuesday night. “He’s going to be in the mix.”
“It’s just going to take us a while,” the KU coach added. “If we could have him back at the end of the month where he is full speed, which is three weeks from now — hopefully we’ll get him back before then. If he could be full speed going into a week before the Big 12 (tournament) and then you still have him another week to practice before the NCAA Tournament that would probably be, I don’t want to say our best-case scenario, but that’s fairly realistic. Then we could have a better team going into the tournament than anybody's seen all year. That would be the hope that I would have.”
Given the way Martin’s injury has lingered and the number of small setbacks he has experienced since first injuring it on Dec. 29 vs. Nevada, Self sounded Tuesday night like someone who was proceeding with cautious optimism.
“I don’t want to sound negative at all,” he said. “We shouldn’t be looking ‘Can he be back this weekend or next weekend or be back whenever?’ This is something that is his call. We are hopeful it happens sooner rather than later, but we’ve been saying that for a while now. We just don’t know on the progress that he’ll get from an explosiveness and a soreness standpoint. I would hope like heck he can play at the end of next week or something like that.
“But I'm nervous (that) even if he comes back and plays some it’s still not going to be him,” Self added. “I’d like to see him at 95%. The way he’s been since Christmas is not Remy. He came back to play, but that’s not Remy. He knows that. We all know that. We need him to get back to the point where he can practice and be part of the team where roles would be established. There’s still hope and there's still time and everybody’s optimistic.”
Martin has appeared in 17 of KU's 23 games this season, making 12 starts and averaging 23.6 minutes per game.
Since injuring the knee in late December, however, he has appeared in just five of KU's 10 Big 12 games, averaging 18.8 minutes in those games. He last appeared in KU's home loss to Kentucky on Jan. 29, when he played 13 minutes against the Wildcats and was noticeably hobbled on the court throughout the game.
KU plays host to Oklahoma at noon on Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.