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Archive for Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Jayhawks dealing with nagging injuries

Miles OK after suffering ankle sprain at practice; Lee set to return

January 13, 2004

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For a scary moment Monday, it looked as if Kansas University's basketball team had lost one Portland, Ore., native to injury just as another was healing.

"I was worried there for a second," KU junior Michael Lee said after watching fellow Oregonian Aaron Miles suffer a mild right ankle sprain in an afternoon practice at Allen Fieldhouse. "But when I heard Aaron joking around (while being treated by trainer), I knew he was OK."

Miles, who iced his ankle the final half hour of practice, is expected to play in Wednesday's game against Kansas State at 7:05 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse. Lee is expected to return for that game after missing the past six weeks because of a broken collarbone.

"I mean it hurt, but I'm fine," Miles said. "I know I'm going to play, but even if I was to ever go down, J-Hawk (Jeff Hawkins), Jeremy Case, Nick Bahe, Omar (Wilkes) ... a lot of guys could step in and do the job."

Lee, who has practiced the past several days, said his collarbone was nearly 100-percent healed.

"The only time it gets sore is when I do a lot of shooting -- one shot after another for 10 minutes," Lee said. "When I sleep on my arm it gets sore. It's been hit a couple times and doesn't even hurt much when that happens."

KU coach Bill Self said the 6-foot-3 Lee had practiced well the past week.

"I think his legs are fine, but not where they need to be," Self said. "I don't know if he could play 10 minutes at a time, but could certainly play four or five at a time. He looks fine and his shot looks fine to me."

Lee, who opened the season as a starter, now will come off the bench. Freshman J.R. Giddens played well as Lee's replacement the past six weeks.







"I like the way J.R. has played. I guess it could change, but right now I don't foresee anything changing in the near future," Self said. "It's hard to replace a guy if you haven't played six weeks and he's done pretty well."

Any role is fine with Lee.

"I want to go with whatever works for the team, and right now that's the best situation anyway," Lee said. "J.R. has been playing well. If he starts the rest of the season, that wouldn't be a problem for me."

Junior guard Keith Langford, who has been bothered by flu-like symptoms, only practiced part-time Monday.

"He's not felt well in a few days. He's run down. We checked him out. He's fine," Self said.

"I'm fine," Langford said. "I'll be ready for the K-State game."

Junior forward Wayne Simien, who was rested at practice last week, practiced Monday and said his strained groin wasn't 100-percent healed, but was getting there.

"We had a nice little eight-day layoff, and I feel good and ready to go," Simien said.

Self said Simien's strained groin probably would be a concern all season.

"It's not going to go away, but it's something you can't sit out for," Self said. "You can't fix it by sitting out four or five days. That just makes it feel better. It's one of those things that is nagging."

Would Simien need a month of rest to totally heal the groin strain?

"I'm not a doctor, but at least that," Self said. "I guess groins are one of those things where you can play unless they are very severe. You always know it (discomfort) is there. It's where he is right now."

Meanwhile, KU freshman David Padgett wore a boot on his injured left foot Monday. He'll miss the K-State game as he rests his slight stress fracture.

"I wish we'd known a little bit sooner if it bothered him. It would have been enough time to not miss a game at all," Self said of Padgett, who first complained of foot pain after the Colorado game Jan. 5. "If it (bothered him) before that it was just a couple days, not one of those deals it was kept from us a week or two. He didn't get the MRI until after he said he had some significant pain (Friday)."

Self said the 6-11 Padgett was not discouraged by the physical setback.

"He's a freshman, a big guy, and gets a break midway through the season, and gets the batteries recharged. He can be ever better coming off the injury," Self said. "We hopefully caught this in time it's not a major injury. Hopefully it'll be a one-game situation.

"There's a good chance he could play against A&M (Saturday in Texas). There's also a chance we might delay that. We are hopeful he can play on Saturday."

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Travel update: The mystery of the case of Bill Self's missing luggage will apparently go unsolved. Self's luggage never made it from Denver to Lawrence on the Jayhawks' last road trip to Colorado. It originally was believed his bag was lost Jan. 5 at the Denver airport -- the night the team waited five hours for its charter plane to arrive in Denver.

Now it appears the luggage may never have made it on KU's team bus outside Coors Events Center, because Colorado officials found the missing bag of KU assistant media relations director Laura Lesko at Coors Events Center. The bag was shipped Monday to Lawrence, where Lesko discovered she was missing several items -- KU gear and other clothes.

Self's bag also had some KU travel gear in it, but no sports jackets.

"It's lost," he said. No other members of KU's traveling party had luggage problems.

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Clinic scheduled: The Jayhawks will hold their annual Special Olympics Clinic from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m on Sunday at Allen Fieldhouse. During the 20th annual clinic, KU's players and coaches will work with 100 Special Olympians from 10 teams.

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