Asheiki Preston is back. At practice, anyway.
But will the injured Kansas quarterback play in Thursday night's nationally-televised game against Kansas State?
Ah, that is the question.
And KU coach Glen Mason can't answer it, he said during his Monday media session, "... because in actuality I won't know until Thursday."
Preston suffered a hairline rib fracture and a partially collapsed lung in the TCU game on Sept. 17 and sat out the following week against Alabama-Birmingham. Now the fifth-year senior has recovered sufficiently to rejoin KU's daily drills.
"He has practiced," Mason said, "and if he's capable of playing, we'll go with Asheiki Preston."
If not, junior college transfer Mark Williams will replace him just like he did in the 72-0 slaughter of UAB.
Tailback June Henley also missed the UAB game after suffering a shoulder injury against TCU. Asked if Henley's status was the same as Preston's, Mason replied succinctly: "Yeah."
Mason wasn't elaborating about injuries Monday, and he wasn't uttering any comments that might be construed as fuel for the fire that already exists in the intrastate rivalry.
For instance, Mason was asked:
- if this was the biggest KU-K-State game in his seven years as head coach, and he replied: "They're all big. To me, they're all big. I don't feel any different about this one that any other."
- if the Jayhawks would be seeking revenge after last year's 10-9 loss in KSU Stadium, and he answered: "We played a game and lost by a point. That's not revenge for me. They beat us fairly and squarely last year. I don't think revenge is a factor."
- if he had one particular worry about Thursday's game, and he replied: "I don't know that I'm worried about any one thing. I'm excited. I am. I'm not nervous. You get nervous about going to the dentist. You get excited about going to a party."
Shy of SRO?: With the game on national TV and with every seat selling for a premium price of $25, it appeared Monday the game wouldn't be a sellout. About 5,000 tickets are still available.
What's the line?: Told that one betting line listed Kansas as a one-point favorite, another had KU as a two-point favorite and still another with the game off the board, Mason said he didn't care. "I'm not betting on the game anyway," he said.
Nary a Jayhawk was yet alive: No player on the Kansas roster was born the last time Kansas State won in Lawrence. That was in 1969. Kansas has won 11 straight and 17 of the last 18 meetings in Memorial Stadium.
Davis honored: Kansas senior outside linebacker Don Davis has been designated a Honda Scholar-Athlete. American Honda will make a $3,000 donation to KU's general scholarship fund in Davis' name. A history major, Davis has a 3.0 grade point average.
Stat chat: In this week's NCAA quarterback rankings, K-State's Chad May and KU's Preston rank No. 21 and No. 22 respectively. May's rating is 140.5; Preston's 139.5. ... K-State's Clyde Johnson ranks No. 1 with three interceptions. ... KU's Dorian Brew is No. 3 in punt returns and K-State's J.J. Smith is No. 3 in kickoff returns. ... Kansas is No. 2 in rushing offense. ... K-State is No. 2 in pass defense.