A national championship ring would go a long way toward easing the pain in Jerod Haase's fractured right hand.
So Haase, Kansas University's senior guard, has passed on the idea of midseason surgery, electing instead to wait until after the season to go under the knife to repair a fractured scaphoid bone.
"All I know is I can play right now. We'll decide when the surgery will happen later," Haase said.
The NBA sponsors pre-draft camps in late April and May. They are camps that could be important to Haase, who is projected as a possible second-round pick in the 1997 NBA Draft.
Haase might even delay the surgery until after the NBA camp season is over. Indications are if he had the surgery in April, he'd be able to return to the court in September.
But Haase insists he hasn't thought that far ahead.
"My senior year is the bottom line. This is the here and now," Haase said. "I have an opportunity to basically live out my childhood dreams this year. I won't pass that up for a bunch of ifs in the future. If that (NBA) is meant to be, it'll work out."
Haase realizes what's in store in terms of rehabilitation. He had the same surgery on his left hand in August before his senior year at South Lake Tahoe (Calif.) High. He missed the first three games of his senior season.
"It's the exact same bone," Haase said. "It's the same situation. I didn't know exactly when I did it, although I think this one happened in the Santa Clara game (KU's season opener).
"They took a bone graft from my hip. I remember the doctor saying it was the size of a crouton. They took that little circle out of the hip and put it in the middle of where the bone is broken with a screw to connect both sides. After the surgery, the screw is invisible."
Kansas junior C.B. McGrath had the same surgery on his left hand after last season ended. He was out of action all summer.
"He put in a lot of time (of rehab)," Haase said of McGrath. "It's something that had to be done. The way I see it, I can still play and help the team. It could be a lot worse."
As for now, Haase will undergo treatment to reduce the pain, trainer Mark Cairns said.
"That's all I can do," Cairns said. "He's been on anti-inflammatory stuff forever. We'll do our usual everyday things with the machines we have in here."
Haase said the pain was intense after he first injured the wrist in KU's opener against Santa Clara.
"It was really bad in Maui," he said. "It slowly got better. It's been up and down since, but it really got bad after the Nebraska game."
That's when he reinjured the wrist.
"It's worse now than in the middle of the season, but it's getting better," he said. "It sometimes hurts when I'm writing. It doesn't hurt right now. In a game, if there's adrenaline going you don't notice it unless you land on it or take a hard pass. At practice, the first few passes, you feel it."
A good omen?: Back in 1988, KU's Clint Normore had the same injury as Haase. He broke a bone in his hand during football season and played with it the entire hoop season.
"He made a significant contribution in the national championship game," Cairns said.