Keith Langford has a deep bone bruise in his left ankle, not a fracture, which is a big break for Kansas University's men's basketball team.
"He is not lost for the season," a relieved KU coach Bill Self said Monday.
Langford -- he severely twisted his ankle after stepping on the foot of Missouri's Brian Dailey in Sunday's 72-68 loss at Missouri -- will remain on crutches this week when not receiving treatment.
He was listed as "questionable to doubtful" for this weekend's Big 12 Conference tournament, but the prognosis was great that the senior guard would be ready for the NCAA Tournament.
"We got great news when the X-rays and MRI were negative. It was not fractured. The medical staff actually thought that it was when we were in Columbia. Fortunately for us, it's not," Self said Monday on his Hawk Talk radio show.
"Barring any setbacks he will be available and be 100 percent for the (NCAA) Tournament and he may play this weekend but we won't play him unless he's 85, 90 percent, because another tweak could maybe set him back a little bit more."
Langford first sprained his ankle before the Oklahoma State game Feb. 27 and re-sprained the ankle at practice late last week before suffering severe ankle trauma against the Tigers.
"The most important thing is to have him ready come (NCAA) Tournament time," Self said. "Certainly we will not do anything to jeopardize that unless the doctors say, 'Bill, he can't hurt it any more. If he hurts it today he could hurt it a month from now.'
"We really don't anticipate hearing that to be quite honest," Self added. "We think there's a chance he'll play, but also think there's a great chance he won't."
Self said Langford's bone bruise wasn't as severe as, say, the sprained ankle that recently slowed Christian Moody.
"In Christian's there was definitely tearing of ligaments," Self said. "With (Langford's) inflammation, anytime it's touched or he moves it, it creates serious pain. That pain will subside over time. We just don't know what the time frame is for that to actually occur."
Langford wants to play as early as Friday when the Jayhawks take on either Kansas State or Texas A&M; at 6 p.m. at Kemper Arena.
"I talked to Keith last night. He was so excited. When we left there (Columbia), we didn't think we'd get the news that we got," Self said. "He was so excited because he feels he can finish the season. In Keith's mind, finishing the season is not missing a single second. That may not be the actual case. I know he'll do everything possible and our training staff will to get him back as soon as we can. When that is remains be seen."
If Langford can't go this weekend, Self said J.R. Giddens would start and Michael Lee likely would fill the other lineup slot.
Loss to MU revisited: Self is not happy with the way the Jayhawks responded after Langford went down against Missouri.
"You lose your best perimeter player, all of a sudden it just deflated us rather than we got tougher and harder from it," Self said. "The way it occurred, the way it went down is the exact opposite of the way you'd hope a team would respond.
"We've got to get these guys playing with zest, energy and life. We had a lot to play for yesterday, and I didn't feel like we acted like we had as much to play for as what we did."
New fieldhouse floor: Allen Fieldhouse will have a new playing surface next year.
"The only reason for a new floor is we've had so many stress fractures because the floor is hard. The women's team also feels the same way," Self said. "There are designs in the cushion and the bounce to allow it to be a little softer, bouncier and look exactly the way it does now from an appearance standpoint, but it would be a totally different floor."
It's believed the big Jayhawk on the floor will remain the same size.
Videoboard backing: Rumors persist that ESPN ultimately might pay for KU's new videoboard in a multi-million dollar TV rights and marketing agreement. Numbers rumored are $4 million for the board, plus another $40 million over a six or seven year period for marketing rights.
"We are negotiating for an extension of our (ESPN Regional) contract. Nothing has been solidified," associate athletic director Jim Marchiony said, indicating ESPN would pay a fee "and we would decide what to do with the money."
Of rumors that KU also might land a lucrative shoe and equipment deal with Adidas instead of the current supplier, Nike, Marchiony responded: "We're talking to Nike and others about our next apparel contract. Nothing's been finalized."
The current Nike deal and ESPN Regional deal both expire this summer.
Tulsa finalists: KU assistant Tim Jankovich was one of six candidates to go through the formal interview process last week with Tulsa president Steadman Upham, according to the Oklahoman. As reported Monday, the candidates who interviewed are: Jankovich, former KU assistant Matt Doherty, interim Tulsa coach Pooh Williamson, Michigan State assistant Doug Wojcik, Texas assistant Rodney Terry and Oklahoma aide Bob Hoffman.
Wooden ballot: Wayne Simien is one of 23 players on the final Wooden Award ballot, the committee announced. The award winner will be unveiled April 9. Complete list on page 5C.
Ducats: A limited number of Big 12 tournament tickets are available at KU's ticket office. For information, call 1-800-34-Hawks.