Sasha Kaun walked with just a slight limp Tuesday afternoon, a black-and-gray brace supporting the Kansas University junior's injured right knee.
"The doctors said I didn't need crutches from the beginning because it didn't tear completely. You suck it up and go," Kaun said before hobbling through the northwest tunnel of Allen Fieldhouse to watch his teammates practice.
The 6-foot-11, 250-pound Kaun actually was back to his regular routine as early as Monday morning, attending classes a day after suffering a partially torn patellar tendon while trying to block a Jeremy Case inside shot in a scrimmage situation Sunday.
"I jumped in a funny way. I felt something as I jumped. It didn't feel good," Kaun said. "At first it started hurting and I didn't think it was that bad. But then I tried to do another drill and it started to get more irritating."
He left practice and was examined by doctors who determined the injury would heal in three to six weeks without surgery.
"I didn't think it was going to be as bad as I guess it was," Kaun said. "When I found out I'd have to be out for so long it was frustrating, but I was glad I didn't need surgery. That would have me out a lot longer."
Kaun isn't about to predict when he will return. It could be Dec. 2 at DePaul, maybe Dec. 19 against Winston-Salem State.
"I'm hoping I'll be out about three weeks. I will try to get as much movement as I can in rehab, try to get back as quick as I can. I'll do the rehab, do whatever the doctors say," Kaun said. "I'll be back as soon as the doctors say I can play."
He's confident Darrell Arthur, Darnell Jackson and Julian Wright will fare well inside in his absence. Walk-on Matt Kleinmann could see some time, as well as Rodrick Stewart possibly moving from guard to power forward.
"I think they will do great. Darrell is doing awesome," Kaun said. "Darnell has been real good. Julian is one of the best players. I think we'll do just fine."
The Jayhawks, who open the exhibition season against Washburn at 7 p.m. Thursday at Allen Fieldhouse, realize they'll have to rally without Kaun and C.J. Giles, who remains on suspension.
"I think it's going to be kind of tough for the big men. They won't have many breaks," sophomore Brandon Rush said. "I think it hurts a lot we lost Sasha. Losing C.J. too really doesn't help at all. We've only got three big men. It's going to be tough.
"I think we're going to go out there a little sloppy like any other young team and start picking it up after the first couple games."
A physical player, Kaun, who sported the remnants of a black eye Tuesday - he took a shot while rebounding at practice last week - also will be missed at daily workouts.
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"Practice is going to be awkward," Jackson said. "I'm always used to Sasha hitting me, knocking me off or something. It's just knowing when you go down there you will get hit by Sasha, by a finger, elbow or knee, stepped on or something."
¢ Arthur OK: Frosh Arthur, who needed five stitches to close a cut on his right hand after banging it on the rim Sunday while trying to block a shot, said he'll be fine for Thursday's exhibition.
"I just need to step it up and play hard. I'm probably not going to start," he indicated. "My role is to rebound, play good defense, block a lot of shots and score some points. I need to step up, grow up since C.J. and Sasha aren't here and play a lot of minutes."
¢ Collins OK, too: Frosh guard Sherron Collins on his strained calf: "I went through a bang/bang play and collided with another player and got a deep bruise. I'm all right," Collins said.