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Archive for Saturday, November 30, 2002

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November 30, 2002

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— Kansas University's Thanksgiving-week trip to New York had a lot in common with garbage in a midtown Manhattan alley.

It stunk.

âÂÂWe had a lot of aggravating things after we got up here. I think it affected how we played, and we canâÂÂt have those,â KU coach Roy Williams said Friday after the No. 2-ranked Jayhawksâ 83-73 loss to No. 8 Florida in the Preseason NIT consolation game. KU fell to North Carolina in the semis, 67-56.

âÂÂItâÂÂs team stuff, not a problem. We took care of it.âÂÂ

Williams and KUâÂÂs seniors were steamed some players arrived late for meals, snacks and various get-togethers.

At KU, itâÂÂs a sign of team unity to be prompt at all times.

âÂÂCoach just basically said he wasnâÂÂt going to take it anymore. He said he was fed up with it,â freshman Jeff Hawkins said, like all Jayhawks refusing to name the guilty parties.

The most aggravating thing that happened in New York, of course, was senior guard Kirk Hinrich spraining his back during the first half of the North Carolina game.

Hinrich showed a lot of toughness in playing the rest of that game and 31 minutes against Florida.

âÂÂKirk canâÂÂt even take a deep breath without being in pain,â senior Nick Collison said. âÂÂNinety eight percent of the players in America wouldnâÂÂt have played tonight. I donâÂÂt care if he scores another point in his career. What he did against Stanford and tonight âÂÂ: he is a fighter.âÂÂ

Hinrich played with a severe ankle sprain in last MarchâÂÂs NCAA Tournament victory over Stanford, less than 48 hours after wrenching his ankle against Holy Cross.

Hinrich says this injury is worse.

âÂÂThe back âÂÂ: I mean, you canâÂÂt move,â said Hinrich, who hit two of eight shots and one of seven threes in scoring five points versus Florida. âÂÂYou canâÂÂt twist. Stand-still shooting is not horrible, but to go hard and pull up is tough.

âÂÂI felt better today. After the game Wednesday I couldnâÂÂt do anything.âÂÂ

Hinrich received heat and ice treatments Wednesday through Friday. He also had several massage treatments and electrical stimulation.

âÂÂHe was a hurt and miserable guy,â trainer Mark Cairns said, noting Hinrich will undergo testing this weekend with the tests to be completed and released on Monday.

The good news is that all indications are Hinrich is OK and shouldnâÂÂt be out of action.

âÂÂHeâÂÂs got a little back sprain,â Williams said. âÂÂHe came down on it (foot) wrong the other night and in the first half felt pain. As luck would have it he fell on it again later in the same spot.

âÂÂHe said he was having trouble putting on his shoes last night. I said, âÂÂ'So do I, but I donâÂÂt have to run 94 feet several times a game.â He had some muscle problems back there. Just as theyâÂÂd gotten it under control, then this happens.

âÂÂAll of a sudden he comes down on it, has a little bit of a blow (versus Carolina) and thereâÂÂs a sprain in there.âÂÂ

Doctors and spine and back specialists checked Hinrich in New York.

âÂÂHe loves to play. HeâÂÂs a tough kid,â Williams said. âÂÂLooking back now, I probably shouldnâÂÂt have played him. I was talking to him during warmups and he said, âÂÂ'Coach I really can play and want to play and think I can help us.âÂÂ

âÂÂHe took some medication and stretched a lot. He got some treatment and another treatment when we got to the Garden. He felt much better than heâÂÂs felt and wanted to play.âÂÂ

HinrichâÂÂs mom and dad also gave Williams the OK. After all, Captain Kirk has never missed a game in his KU career.

âÂÂI want to play. IâÂÂve only got so many games left in my career,â Hinrich said. âÂÂCoach said heâÂÂd give me a chance to warm up and I felt OK. I fell down one time the first half and then it started bothering me again.âÂÂ

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There is still hope: The Jayhawks have lost two games in November for the first time in the Williams era and are 2-2 for the first time since the 1987-1988 title season.

âÂÂWe got beat by Ball State last year. It doesnâÂÂt do you any good to go undefeated in November. ItâÂÂs a long season,â Collison said.

Williams noted: âÂÂI told the guys, KirkâÂÂs and NickâÂÂs freshman year we go to Alaska and win the Alaska Shootout and everybody feels great, but so what. We go to Coaches Versus Cancer tournament and win their sophomore year. Last year we lost our first game and end up in the Final Four. They remember their junior year better than their freshman and sophomore years. WeâÂÂve got to build from today, build at our first practice, second practice, third practice from today.âÂÂ

Of the 2-2 mark, Wayne Simien said: âÂÂWhether weâÂÂre ranked or not, people expect banners hung. Whether weâÂÂre No. 1 or 15, banners are expected to be hung. WeâÂÂve got to take this out on each other and work hard at practice.âÂÂ

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All-tourney: Simien made the all-tournament team with Matt Bonner, Florida; Josh Childress, Stanford; and Raymond Felton and Jackie Manuel, North Carolina. The MVP was CarolinaâÂÂs Rashad McCants.

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