Hobbled by a degenerative disc in his back, Patrick Richey has never considered sitting out the basketball season.
Red-shirting, he says, would provide more mental anguish than the physical pain he's experiencing.
"I hadn't even thought about it, that'd be so hard on me," said Richey, a Kansas sophomore forward from Lee's Summit, Mo.
Richey scored five points while playing 15 minutes in Saturday's 83-54 win over Central Missouri State. He had missed KU's two previous victories because of his back problem.
"Those last two games were a living hell," Richey said. "I couldn't stand sitting there on the bench when I knew I could be out there helping the team. We've got a great team this year. I want to be part of it."
TWO WEEKS of treatment, he says, have helped.
"I feel OK now. Before, I could get out of bed, but I couldn't put my socks on. It wasn't fun. I can play with some pain. I just can't play with THAT much pain," he said.
Richey said no cortisone shots have been prescribed. Last year, Mike Maddox, who also had a bad back, received shots during the season.
"I heard somebody say I'm too young for it," Richey said. "They were just trying to get him through his last year, but I'm only a sophomore. I've got two years left. It sounds like no shot. If it gets real bad again, I might ask for one if it'd help. From what Maddox said, the needle was a couple feet long. I don't know if I'd want a shot."
Richey hit one of three three-point attempts Saturday.
"I'm out of shape, to tell you the truth," Richey said. "But I'm going to work myself back into shape and I'll hopefully be ready for the game next Saturday."
KU, 3-0, WILL play its first road game Saturday versus Long Beach State.
"We're not playing as well as last year . . . well, that's hard to say because last year we didn't play good early either. We were lousy, just terrible and we went to the Final Four," Richey said. "We haven't been up yet. We've got to get up next week against Long Beach State or we're gonna get beat. We have a whole week of practice to prepare. We'll be ready."
KU was sloppy Saturday, committing 25 turnovers.
"When you're winning by that many points," Richey said, "you get guys careless, making the fancy pass. I think we were trying to do too much. We've got to go back to basics and just make the easy play and we'll be all right."
KU HAS four Californians Adonis Jordan, Alonzo Jamison, Eric Pauley and Rex Walters on the roster.
"They don't want to go home and lose," Richey said. "We've got a good week of practice ahead. Coach will work us hard. We'll be ready."
Kansas' junior varsity team will put a 3-0 record on the line tonight against Johnson County CC. Tipoff is 7:30 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse. The KU JVs, coached by Mark Turgeon, posted a 101-79 victory over Neosho County CC on Saturday night. Donnie Brown led Kansas with 22 points.
Kansas has now won 21 straight home games, 27 straight versus non-conference opponents.
KU's next home game is Dec. 14 against DePaul. That one has a late tipoff 8:30 p.m. because it'll be on ESPN.