Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self says it's possible injured guard Brandon Rush will not miss any games his junior season.
"The word is that for him to be totally active in playing ... six months would be a gauge where he could be close to being himself," Self said Tuesday night from his Parrott Athletic Center office.
He confirmed Rush has a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and will undergo surgery either late this week or early next week in Lawrence.
"You could also take a month on either side of that, too," Self added, noting five or seven months could be an accurate time frame for Rush's return to the court.
"There's a great chance he will not miss a game. We will not push it. It depends how rehab goes. He has enough people around him who have had a similar injury. JaRon (Rush's brother) had this done; Danny (Manning) had this done. Joe (Dooley) has had two done. Kurtis (Townsend) has had his done," Self added of KU's three assistant coaches who will lend support in rehab.
"I've had numerous experiences of players who came back in a far shorter amount of time than six months. If his mind-set is right, if he approaches rehab in the right state, there's no reason why Brandon Rush will not be close to 100 percent in that respective time frame, at least physically. It also could be seven months if he does not approach rehab right."
Self - the sun-baked coach arrived from a charity golf outing sporting a light goatee - noted one of his former University of Illinois players, Lucas Johnson, came back in three months from a torn ACL.
"That was too fast," Self said. "It was his senior year. He was going to roll the dice. We will not do that with Brandon. We would not do anything to take away from his athleticism, his explosiveness.
"We will not put him out there until he's structurally sound."
Self said though Rush very well could be on the court in November, a "best-case scenario for us would him being 100 percent going into January, in terms of him being mentally right, for him to have worked through everything and be ready to be the old Brandon, all the mental stuff."
Self said KU's team of medical doctors would perform the surgery when the swelling in Rush's knee subsides and his quad becomes strong.
"We've got the best (in the country) right here with us. Brandon feels the same way," Self said of KU's medical team.
The specific surgeon has not been identified in accordance with KU policy. Larry Magee is KU's head team physician, while team physician Jeff Randall has done knee surgeries in the past.
"Brandon is in good spirits and is presently rehabbing as he prepares for surgery this week or early next week," Self noted.
After the surgery, it won't be long before Rush is cleared to do some physical activity.
"He should be able to run and do stationary shooting and all that stuff within three months," Self said. "We'll set him in a chair and have him do as much as he can do. He'll be able to address some ball-handling needs, even if it's from a stationary position."
Self said Rush's rehab will be difficult at times.
"I think you'll have to be disciplined. Go rent the movie, 'Brian's Song,'" Self said of the movie about the relationship between Chicago Bears Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers, the former KU running back who came back from a serious knee operation.
"I look at this as an opportunity for him (Rush) to address some deficiencies (in his game), get a little bit more discipline in his life, work his butt off and put himself in a position to be a high first-round draft pick next year.
"I think if Brandon would have stayed in the draft, he could have been a first-rounder. I think he would have played to that. At the same time it's a deep draft. This could turn out to be a blessing."
Self said Rush would not give interviews until some time after the surgery.
"I talked to him today. He's in good spirits," Self indicated.
¢No second opinion: Self wanted to clear up a mistake in media reports that indicated KU sent Rush's MRI to Denver for a second opinion from a specialist.
"There was no second opinion," the coach said. "The only thing that had anything to do with Denver is that's where all MRIs are sent to be read. There was no other physician. If you have an MRI, Denver is where it's sent."
¢How'd he hurt it?: Rush was injured shooting a layup in a pickup game of basketball last week in Kansas City.
"He jumped for a layup off his left foot and landed right foot and felt it. It's something he's done thousands of times," Self said.
¢Why not Friday?: Self explained why he did not release specifics of Rush's injury last Friday when the MRI revealed a torn ACL.
"We did not announce the nature of the injury last week per Brandon's request. Friday was an emotional day for Brandon as he had worked very hard in preparation for the NBA pre-draft camp. By law we cannot comment on an injury without a player's consent."
¢Player in Wichita: KU players Russell Robinson, Darnell Jackson and Darrell Arthur were interviewed by a Wichita KAKE-TV crew on Tuesday at Bob Chipman's basketball camp in Garden Plain.
"This is frustrating because Brandon's never really been hurt, but he'll heal up quick and be ready to go," senior-to-be Robinson said. "He's a tough kid, doesn't let much get to him. He'll be excited to get back on the floor. We'll help him get back. He'll be full power."
"We're just glad he's back," Jackson said. "He'll come back strong. He's a big key to this team."
"We got him back. That's a good thing," Arthur said. "When he comes back (from injury) he'll be great. When we get him healthy, we'll be ready for our goal, and that's a national championship."