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Archive for Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Jayhawks ready to heal

March 31, 2004

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Bill Self compared his Kansas University men's basketball team to a MASH unit after Sunday's Elite Eight overtime loss to Georgia Tech.

That's Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, for those who haven't watched any Alan Alda TV reruns lately.

"This is the most beat-up bunch I've been around," Self, KU's first-year coach, said Tuesday. "I don't think we were a tight (nervous) team. I think we were a fatigued team. We were living on borrowed time from a health standpoint. It kind of caught up with us at the end."

Self is hoping "within the next six weeks we have a healthy team."

Here's what's in store for his injured Jayhawks:

  • Junior Keith Langford, who has torn cartilage in his right knee, will have surgery later this week.

"The rehab time is anywhere between one to three months depending on what they find when they go in there," Self said. "Hopefully they'll find the healing has already started to occur."

  • Freshman J.R. Giddens, who had a screw inserted in his left foot last summer to repair a stress fracture, has reinjured the foot and will be in a cast six to eight weeks. He'll be re-evaluated to see if he needs surgery.
  • Senior Jeff Graves, who has torn cartilage in a knee, will have arthroscopic surgery this week or next and could be out a month. Self said he believed Graves would play overseas next year, but could conceivably be invited to an NBA camp if he wasn't drafted in the second round.
  • Junior forward Wayne Simien will rest his strained groin the next four to five weeks.

"It'll be strictly rehab, no basketball," Self said. "When you hear about bad groin pulls, it involves stomach muscles. His is certainly severe in that regard."

  • Junior Bryant Nash also has a stress fracture in his left foot and will have his foot in a cast about a month.
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No NBA yet: Self scoffed at rumors Giddens might leave KU after one season for the NBA.

"There's a lot of talk you hear from one or two people, and all of a sudden it becomes a rumor or hot subject," Self said. "This is not a hot subject right now.

"J.R. is certainly going to be a pro. He has a chance to be a very high draft pick someday as opposed to a guy who gets drafted. He knows and understands that. I'll support him in getting information (from NBA), but right now J.R. is set on becoming a better basketball player which will lead to outstanding opportunities for him."

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No NBA yet, Part II: Self said Simien wouldn't test his draft status at camps. The junior has said all along he would be back next season.

"I'd recommend him not doing anything unless people there (NBA) tell him he should do things," Self said. "My opinion is, when you go expose yourself and are not ready it doesn't help you. I do think there are things he needs to improve on to really enhance his draft position (for 2005 Draft). He'd be first to agree with me on that.

"I would never try to convince Wayne to stay and not go in the draft. I'd never try to encourage him to (go in draft). All I do is give information and then and his family make the best decision."

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Prediction time: Self likes Oklahoma State to beat Georgia Tech in one national semifinal and UConn to stop Duke in the other. He thinks UConn will win the finale if Emeka Okafor is healthy.

"Sure I'll pull for Oklahoma State," he said. "A., They are from the league. More importantly it's my alma mater. I'd love to see those guys do well."

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