If Brandon Rush has his say, he'll not only dress, but also play in today's 7 p.m. home game against Washburn.
"I'm dying to play ... but it's not my decision. If it was up to me, I'd say go ahead, but it's not up to me. No matter what ... it's going to be pretty soon," said Rush, who has made a steady comeback from June 1 ACL surgery.
The 6-foot-6 junior from Kansas City, Mo., has been practicing with contact since Nov. 2.
"They said I can go," Rush said of medical personnel. "I'm up to speed. It's just my timing is off a little. I need to get in some early games so I can be warmed up for games like Arizona and USC. It'd be good to get the feel for the game."
Rush believes once he starts playing in what figures to be a reserve role - not as a starter - it'd probably "be 10-15 minutes a game. That's up to coach."
KU coach Bill Self won't promise an appearance by Rush tonight.
"It will probably be a game-time decision, as football coaches put it," Self said. "He's close to playing in games, yes."
The decision whether to play Rush, Self stressed, will have nothing to do with Sherron Collins' status. Collins will miss six weeks following Monday's surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot.
"Regardless of when Brandon gets out there for the first time, there will be an adjustment period," Self said. "He's very capable of playing well. His timing hasn't been great. He needs to get out there under the lights and do some things. We will not rush him. We've been slowing him down, to be quite candid, just for precautionary reasons.
"He wants to be out there. Whether it happens (tonight) or not, I will not say. I do see it happening in the near future."
KU senior Russell Robinson can tell Rush is eager for a return to game action.
"You can see once we started to play preseason games he wanted to play," Robinson said. "He's close to being ready. He's a little hesitant, maybe a step slow on defense. Not because of his knee, but he hasn't played defense a while. You can see more and more in practice he's getting back to being Brandon."
The Jayhawks realize life will be difficult the next 11 games or so without 5-foot-11 soph point guard Collins. Self said senior Rodrick Stewart would start in the Chicagoan's place tonight.
"There is less margin for error in that if Mario (Chalmers) is not making shots, Sherron could. If Russell is not making shots, Sherron could," Self said. "Now those guys have to play well, as they have in the past. They have to stay out of foul trouble. Without Brandon being full strength and without Sherron, we need those guys to be impact players nightly. The guys next to them the majority of time will be inexperienced."
Stewart, Jeremy Case and Tyrel Reed are likely to be called on more in upcoming contests.
"Opportunity knocks for them. They've just got to answer the door, go out and perform," Robinson said. "They've been playing well this year."
Tonight's foe - Washburn - which went 0-2 in the exhibition season, nearly pulled off a shocker on Tuesday. The NCAA Div. II Ichabods lost to Div. I Missouri-Kansas City, 79-75, at the Kangaroos' gym. On Nov. 6, the Ichabods fell at UNLV, 77-47. Washburn trailed that game, 38-9 at halftime.
Andrew Meile, a 6-2 senior from Olathe scored 19 points off 7-of-12 shooting against the Kangaroos, who were coming off Sunday's 85-62 loss at Kansas.
Paul Byers, 6-5 junior from Beattie, and Darnell Kimble, 6-8 junior from Buffalo, contributed 12 and 11 points, respectively, while Kyle Snyder, a 6-6 senior from Effingham, had seven rebounds.
Kimble and Meile were the only two Ichabods to score in double digits during the two exhibition games, finishing at 12.5 and 10.5 points respectively. Byers averaged nine points and 8.5 boards.
Angel Santiago, a 6-0 junior from Chicago, averaged 8.5 points a game in exhibition play. He averaged 14.2 points a game last year at Dodge City CC.
"They have good guards who are very quick," Self said. "They will not be intimidated. They've been over here enough. Their guys know our guys through summertime (play) and things like that. I anticipate a very scrappy game. We were preseason No. 1 in the country and they played us to six, seven points (79-70 in 2004). We'll get their best shot. Their best shot is very good."
¢ The Ichabods are playing four games in five days. Washburn will meet Lincoln and Upper Iowa on Friday and Saturday at the Hilliard Classic in St. Joseph, Mo.
¢ Ichabods coach Bob Chipman is 628-240 in 28 years at Washburn. His only two losing seasons have been the last two when Washburn went 8-19 and 10-16.
¢ Washburn was picked to finish ninth in the 10-team MIAA.
¢ KU leads the series, 33-3, including a 3-0 record in exhibition play. The Jayhawks have won the last seven meetings dating to 1944, including a 99-69 win in exhibition play last season.