Kansas University's men's basketball players will rest today after laboring through five season-opening practices.
"(They've been) sloppy, with poor attention to detail," second-year coach Bill Self said, critiquing the first workouts of the 2004-05 season. "There's been good effort, good enthusiasm. Overall, they have been above-average practices."
Of course, Self is expecting more than "above average" from his squad this season.
"I always have aspirations. Five days into it, I had a goal of things I wanted to have done, and I think we're behind. We're not as far as I wanted to be," he said.
"We spend too much time on certain things as opposed to moving on and introducing new things."
He hopes the players rest during their day off, then step it up Friday.
"Our next day off will be Tuesday. Hopefully, we'll come back, and by Monday I'll feel we're moving at the pace I feel we need to move at," Self said.
Alex Galindo, Stephen Vinson and Jeremy Case have missed the first five practices because of groin injuries. Self said Vinson and Galindo, who have been able to do some shooting, likely would return to practice this weekend. Case still is out indefinitely.¢
Shortage affects athletes, too: The nationwide shortage of flu vaccine means KU's basketball players will enter the season unprotected against the virus that causes influenza.
"We've always made our guys get flu shots," Self said. "It's important, but if there is a shortage we understand that. There are people out there who need the flu shot more than we do."
KU director of sports medicine Larry Magee said no vaccine currently was available for KU's athletes.
"Right now there's not any available (nationwide) except for people at high risk, and not even enough for those at high risk," Magee said. "There's a possibility our athletes who compete during flu season could be immunized later in the year."
The height of the flu season is November through February.
"If you get true influenza, you could be out four to seven days of competition," Magee said. "That is not good, but it is not a life-and-death issue, and that is the priority (in U.S.) now."
Missing a handful or more of practices could be detrimental to a team, Self said.
"Seven practices in January is the difference in winning the league and not winning the league," he said.
KU's hoopsters and all other winter sport athletes are encouraged to lead a healthy lifestyle this flu season.
"It will be an interesting year. We will emphasize hygiene, handwashing," Magee said. "Those who have influenza will be separated from those who are healthy. Theoretically, you could have four or five sick at the same time, especially a team that spends so much time traveling together."