Kansas City, Mo. Jeff Graves' suspension from Kansas University's basketball team couldn't have come at a worse time.
The Jayhawks, who will be without the 6-foot-9, 255-pound senior until at least Monday, enter today's game against Oregon (1 p.m., Kemper Arena) extremely thin at the power forward and center positions.
Freshman power forward David Padgett suffered an ankle sprain at practice Thursday and couldn't finish Friday morning's practice.
Junior power forward Wayne Simien, who, like Padgett, is expected to start today, has been slowed by a slightly strained groin the past couple of weeks.
"We have two starters hurt, and the first guy off the bench will not be with us. We may play Keith at the 5 (center position)," KU coach Bill Self said of 6-4 junior Keith Langford.
KU's coach wasn't smiling, but he presumably was joking.
Self said to look for Christian Moody and Moulaye Niang to perhaps play more than usual today against the 3-0 Ducks.
Moody, a 6-8, 215-pound sophomore walk-on, scored four points and had a rebound while playing 11 minutes in Wednesday's 80-40 victory over Fort Hays State. Niang, a 6-10 sophomore, had three points and five boards in 18 minutes of that game.
"I was surprised," Moody said of being KU's first big man off the bench against FHSU. "Coach told me I'd been looking good at practice and to just be ready whenever. I was really excited when he put me in the game."
Excited about playing significant minutes, Moody called his parents in Asheville, N.C., after the game.
"I called as soon as it ended," Moody said. "They actually watched the game on satellite. They were excited. I realize when J.G. (Graves, whose status with the team will be re-evaluated Monday), Dave and Wayne are all healthy and playing their best, they are our three best big guys. Whatever I can do to help them get better, I will do."
Kemper fan: Self has fond memories of Kemper Arena, site of today's game.
"I've not been in there in a long while. I played there in '83," he said of Oklahoma State's 1983 Big Eight Conference tournament double-overtime title game victory over Missouri.
"I believe in that game I had two points and three rebounds. There have been a lot of great ones, but go back to that date, that was a great game. The end of regulation and overtimes all ended on last-second shots. It was a great, great game. I have fond memories of the place. I always thought Kemper was a great venue."
KU held a shootaround Friday night in Kemper Arena after practicing Friday morning at Allen Fieldhouse.
"It's not going to be a homecourt like Allen," Self said, "still I think enough people will be there, getting excited. Hopefully it's an opportunity for people who can't come to Allen and see us on a regular basis to see us there. That creates energy and enthusiasm, people who don't get to see us often getting to see us play."
More bumps and bruises: Bryant Nash (hyperextended left elbow) wore a heavy brace on the elbow at practice Friday.
Graves, who will not be on KU's bench today, shot free throws after practice Friday at Allen Fieldhouse with a big brace on his right elbow, which he bruised while diving for a loose ball in Wednesday's game.
Graves also has been bothered by tendinitis in both knees. He was asked if his nagging injuries -- he broke his nose earlier in the season -- might have contributed to his missing or arriving late for practices and meetings.
"I think it might be like that, too, with injuries it builds up frustration and hurts your confidence," Graves said.