Kansas University's men's basketball team will be without sophomore point guard Sherron Collins the next six weeks.
Collins, who sprained his left ankle in the second half of Sunday's 85-62 victory over UMKC, had surgery Monday to repair a stress fracture in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot.
The surgery - which included inserting a screw in the foot -went well, coach Bill Self reported, and Collins should be ready "by the start of the New Year."
Following the approximate six-week timeline, Collins figures to miss at least the next 11 games (including marquee matchups against Arizona, Southern Cal, DePaul and Georgia Tech), with the possibility of returning for the final two nonconference games against Boston College on Jan. 5 and Loyola-Maryland on Jan. 8.
"Sherron will be missed. He worked so hard to get his weight down, worked so hard on his conditioning. He's just North of 200 pounds," Self said of the 5-foot-11 Chicagoan who reported to school his freshman year at 227 pounds. "He was off to a good start, in great shape. He'll have to remain very, very disciplined, eat right and hopefully he'll be back in that time frame."
Self said the stress fracture was revealed in an X-ray taken not so much because of the ankle sprain, but because of pain Collins felt on the top of his foot. It was an existing stress fracture, already in place before the sprain.
"The thing is, he's had no (stress fracture) symptoms," Self said, noting Collins' foot was "tender to the touch," when evaluated after the UMKC game. "The ankle sprain probably aggravated the stress fracture to the point it (surgery) had to be done.
"There was no doubt he had a stress fracture before the ankle turn. We have no idea when the original injury happened. He could take time off and let it heal on its own, but there's a better chance it wouldn't heal on its own. It eventually was going to become a big problem for him.
"It may be a blessing we caught it when we did. He could have done it in late December or January."
Instead, Collins - who will stay off the foot a couple weeks - figures to be back for Big 12 action.
"He will have a big year," Self said of KU's leading scorer through two games with a 16.0 average. "It's a setback for him and us, (but) he'll be ready to roll by conference. We are disappointed and everything, but not to the point we think anything is lost. This will give other guys an opportunity for important minutes."
Self said he envisioned senior Rodrick Stewart moving into the starting lineup - "I haven't thought about it; I can't imagine it being anyone else" - at least until Brandon Rush returns.
Rush, who has been practicing with contact, figures to return soon from June 1 ACL surgery. Likely not Thursday against Washburn, however.
"He's close to coming back. He's practicing," Self said. "Brandon will not come back sooner because of this. We'll continue to go by what the medical staff says."
This also could mean additional playing time for senior Jeremy Case and freshmen Tyrel Reed and Conner Teahan.
"Hopefully we will get Brandon back in a short period of time," Self said. "Even with that said, it will take Brandon a while before he is Brandon. He's been out a long time. His timing is off. We'll just operate shorthanded.
"This forces me to play other guys and that will help our depth for conference. If I'm looking for a positive spin, that would be it."
Collins' surgery was performed in Lawrence. KU's policy is to not release the name of the doctor or the exact location of the surgery.
Just a coincidence: Playing UMKC has been bad luck of sorts for KU. Wayne Simien jammed his hand on the rim trying to block a Michael Watson layup and dislocated his shoulder in a game against the Kangaroos on Jan. 4, 2003, in Kemper Arena. Collins also was injured against the 'Roos on a play in which there was no contact. He rolled his ankle driving the left baseline attempting a pass to Sasha Kaun, who was charging down the lane.
Julian had fracture, too: Self said Collins' injury was similar to the stress fracture ex-Jayhawk Julian Wright had repaired July 28 before his freshman season at KU. Wright was ready for Boot Camp conditioning in late September.
"It's the same place (in foot) where Julian did his," Self said. "He came back fine."
Left leg woes: Collins has had problems with his left leg before. Remember, he was slowed by a case of patellar tendinitis in his left knee the last month of the 2006-07 basketball season. He rested it a month at season's end and was cleared for full contact workouts in early May.
Early-season injuries: ESPN's Dick Vitale recently compiled a list of some of the early-season injuries hampering teams. Kansas State's David Hoskins is out indefinitely with a knee injury; Washington guard Ryan Appleby is out six weeks with a a broken thumb on his right hand; Iowa point guard Tony Freeman is out a month with a broken bone in his foot; Memphis' Joey Dorsey missed the first two games with a shoulder injury sustained in a scrimmage; Syracuse guard Josh Wright has been out with an ankle injury.
Of course, KU's Brandon Rush has yet to play coming off ACL surgery.
Ticket plan: Hoping to sell out Saturday's football game against Iowa State, KU has a 4-4-4 ticket plan. Fans may purchase four tickets for the ISU game, four to any KU men's basketball game in November except the Arizona game and any KU women's hoops game in November for $199. KU associate AD Jim Marchiony said men's tickets became available because of tickets turned back by KU's foes, who receive an allotment. He indicated the fieldhouse was sold out this season. "We have returns from those schools on our schedule, so we have tickets available," he said.