Wayne Simien can't imagine a scenario that would keep Kansas University senior teammate Keith Langford from playing in Friday night's NCAA Tournament opener against Bucknell.
"I believe he has the ability to help the team whether he's on the court or not, but I definitely think you will see No. 5 out there," Simien, the Big 12 Conference player of the year, said before Tuesday's practice at Allen Fieldhouse.
Langford missed the start of the practice because of a conflict with a class and missed the remainder of the practice because of nagging problems with his left ankle.
He wrenched the ankle March 6 at Missouri, re-aggravating a severe bone bruise. He came down with a nasty case of the flu Wednesday that required hospitalization for IV treatment.
KU coach Bill Self didn't know whether Langford would play Friday.
"Yesterday, he practiced some and looked good," Self said. "He kind of tweaked it there at the end that probably set him back yesterday. He moved pretty good on it, but not great.
"To me, it (ankle) is a bigger concern than the flu. He's going to get a lot of rehab this week."
Langford, who missed KU's two Big 12 tournament games last weekend, had an individual workout Sunday night and practiced Monday, tweaking the ankle near the end of drills.
"The doctors seem to think by Friday his stamina is going to be OK from the sickness," said Self, whose Jayhawks will meet Bucknell at 8:50 p.m. Friday at Ford Center in Oklahoma City.
"His conditioning may not be great. If he was just dealing with the flu, his stamina would be fine. From that standpoint, he'll be OK. His ankle is just average."
Meanwhile, Christian Moody still is not 100 percent recovered from the staph infection in his left knee.
"His whole deal is not getting it hit," Self said. "With that kind of infection, you can't put any pressure on the area where it is infected. Around that bursa sac on the knee it hurts to touch it. He couldn't put a pad on it because there's too much pressure."¢
Homeward bound: KU sophomore J.R. Giddens is looking forward to playing this weekend in his hometown of Oklahoma City.
"We'll have a good crowd. Kansas fans will commute to Oklahoma City," Giddens said. "Darnell (Jackson) is an Oklahoma boy; I'm an Oklahoma boy; coach Self is an Oklahoma boy, so it should all be good."
Giddens, who busted a recent slump by hitting three of five threes Saturday against Oklahoma State, admitted for the first time Tuesday he was hurt by the booing he received at Allen Fieldhouse during his 1-for-11 outing from three-point range against Iowa State.
"I will not lie. It kind of hit me a little," Giddens said. "I was like, 'Man, they don't know I'm here before practice and after practice trying to make shots. I am not trying to miss shots,'" Giddens said.
"People booing me, down on me, it was terrible. I said, 'Don't boo me like this. True fans won't do that,'" Giddens added.
"I said I wish I could reverse the script, they be in my shoes for a game, see how tough it is. But it's OK. Some people are not going to be good sportsmen. I just have to deal with that."¢
Travel schedule: KU's team take a charter flight after this afternoon's practice to Oklahoma City. The bus is slated to leave Allen Fieldhouse for Topeka's Forbes Field at 6 p.m.
"If we took a bus, we'd have to miss some school tomorrow," said Self, whose Jayhawks will hold an open shootaround practice from 6 to 6:50 p.m. Thursday at Ford Center.
"If we charter, we miss no school. Plus if we are fortunate enough to play Sunday, if you take the bus you get back in the middle of the night as opposed to 10 or so. We don't want to mess with the players' sleep patterns more than we have to."¢
Good move by KSU: Self was pleased KSU decided to keep Jim Wooldridge as coach.
"I think it's a great decision by K-State," Self said. "Jim Wooldridge is a good coach. He's got good young players coming back. He's done a very good job there. They lost a lot of close games this year. I was pulling for that to happen. It's good for Jim, good for our league and good for K-State."